Young Entrepreneurs Academy launches in Elkhart

Most people reach the height of their career after years of hard work and labor. However, a new program in Elkhart is setting out to quicken that road to success for some of its youngest and brightest residents.

It's called the Young Entrepreneurs Academy and starting next month, two dozen high school students will take part in the state's first course.

It's all thanks to Halley Hill, a senior at Elkhart Central High School. Last spring, Hill was on Facebook when she saw an ad for the program. She clicked on it, filled-out an extensive application and then got the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce and Elkhart Community Schools on-board as well.

Thanks to that hard work, the class will meet for three hours each Wednesday inside a computer lab at Elkhart Central. There local executives will help each student mold a business model on a topic that interests them.

The goal is to launch each student's company by the end of the school year, with the distinct possibility that many participants will actually turn a profit.

Across the United States, there are 31 other communities running this program with great success rates. Latest numbers show 100 percent of participants graduate from high school with 95 percent continuing-on to college.

"I’ve always had a drive to succeed. Basically in everything I do, I want to do it to the best of my ability. I hope that by the end of the program, everybody has met their goals and is well on the way to achieving their successful business,” Hill said.

"It's going to be very fun to see from the very beginning to the end, to see where these kids go. We work with entrepreneurs everyday, business men and women who've done that, but we see them when they're already out and they are running their businesses. So it will be fun to see from the very beginning, how they launch it in the end,” said Kathy Cardwell with the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce.

Although instructor names aren't being released just yet, the chamber says they are some of the area’s heaviest hitters by way of business.

As for the course itself, it's being sponsored by grants, local businesses and a $295 enrollment fee.

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