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Students learn from local entrepreneurs

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 11:28 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - On Wednesday, Riley High School students got a unique opportunity to learn from local entrepreneurs.

The speakers talked about their successes, failures and lessons learned along the way.

One of the speakers, Rhonda Gipson-Willis, is the CEO and Founder of RGW Ventures. She also does corporate leadership training and coaching and is a licensed therapist.

“The reason I came today is I wanted to be able to share with the generation that’s coming up in regards to what it takes to be an entrepreneur and what it looks like,” said Gipson-Willis.

Some of the speakers graduated from a program called HustleSBE, a bootcamp for minority business owners, that teaches the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.

“A resource like that that exists in this community is something that has allowed a lot of us to up level our businesses...” said Gipson-Willis.

They took students’ questions and learned more about their startups.

Seventeen-year-old Christopher Krause cuts hair and mows grass and hopes to expand his business one day.

“I am a really creative person, you know, I like art. I like putting my brand out...I think a lot. I think about every little detail. What could go wrong, what could go bad,” said Krause.

“He’s afraid to pivot. He’s afraid of making a mistake and afraid of doing the wrong thing and losing everything. So the message from the three entrepreneurs, including myself, back to him was you have to be willing to take those chances and understand that if you were able to build that business once, you have what it takes to build it again,” said Gipson-Willis said.

“If you drive too fast you are going to crash and I don’t want to do that. I want to make a smooth path to my destination. I don’t want to have roadblocks, which I know I will, but I want to be able to know how to get around it...We have an opportunity to make a decision every day and why not do what I love,” said Krause.

The speakers also encouraged students to network and use resources in the community.

The event was hosted by South Bend - Elkhart Regional Partnership.

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