Arsenal Tech Students Learn from Local Entrepreneurs
Dozens of students at Arsenal Tech High School who have an interest in starting their own business gathered in the historic courtroom on campus to listen to panelists from a variety of backgrounds talk about their experiences with entrepreneurship. This is because being an entrepreneur is more about having a certain skill set and mindset than anything – and that skill set can be helpful whether it results in founding a business or pursuing a more traditional career.
After a presentation from Kathy England of Regions Bank about the importance of understanding the realities of how financials play a role in starting a business, Joseph Eldridge of 100 Black Men Indianapolis moderated the panel, along with questions from students. Below are some highlights from the panelists:
Chris Hoyt – Founder, Apprenace
“Often, people are searching for how to get to the top when the solution is right next to us. When I found something that I do well, I wanted to see how to turn it into a business – but just because you do something well, does not always mean customers are ready for it. The first thing you need is customers, if you don’t want to fail. Once I had enough people saying ‘yes, I would like to try this,’ then I used their feedback to create my initial product offerings. We did a lot to understand businesses and what their concerns and doubts are so that we are offering something specific rather than ambiguous.”
Melita Carter – Founder & CEO, Natural Born Leaders Academy
“As you are building your business, you don’t have to be good at every aspect of your business, but you have to know a little bit about everything to make sure other people you hire do their job well… As long as you know a little about a lot, to hire the right people, you can be successful. And that comes from reading and reading and researching and researching.”
NaShana Mitchell – Founder, Studio B; Co-founder, Design Bank
“You need to ask yourself why, what, who, where? Why am I committed? What am I offering? Who is my customer that will use this? And where do the transactions take place? Is it a building or online? And as you figure that out, it always circles back to ‘why,’ and you go from there. I had a business where once we made a $10,000 mistake – so after that we asked lots of questions and learned from it to make the right decision next time.”
Aundre G. hogue – Regional Vice President, PFS Investments
“You don’t have to be good at everything, but your business does. To go to the next level, it is more of a mindset – too many people never get off the ground because they are scared to fail. I don’t know anyone who is successful who hasn’t failed first. You need to fail forward, and keep moving.”
Dani Williams – Entrepreneur, Creative Leader, Social Media Strategist
“When I decided to become a special media strategist, it is because I found a need… Some people have wants, and some have needs – I have been most successful when I find a need and try to fill it. I am also a big believer in collaboration over competition, so I find ways for entrepreneurs to raise each other up through business.”
“Thank you for doing this. No one has ever done something like this for us.”
– Arsenal Tech student after the event
For more about the panelists, view the program from the event.