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
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
A group of young adults learned about the realities of “being your own boss” at an entrepreneur panel at the Pivot Re-engagement Center at the Finish Line Boys & Girls Club on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis. Check out the highlight video to see some of the top takeaways, and click on the image below the video to view the program and learn more about the panelists.
Click to view the event program and learn more about the panelists
Initiative successfully employed more than 6000 young adults in its first three years and continues furthering employer partnerships in 2019
INDIANAPOLIS – January 30, 2019 – Today at the Indianapolis Zoo, Mayor Joe Hogsett and EmployIndy announced this year’s kick off of Project Indy, the administration’s youth jobs program. Since its initial launch in 2016 by Mayor Hogsett, EmployIndy, Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, and Marion County Commission on Youth, Project Indy has positively impacted thousands of young adults in Marion County by engaging them in the workforce. In 2019, Project Indy will continue to make a difference in the lives of Indianapolis residents by providing work experiences and career exploration opportunities for young adults.
Last year, Mayor Hogsett encouraged local employers to take an active role in offering opportunities to young workers. After reaching annual goals of 1000 jobs obtained in 2016 and 2000 jobs obtained in 2017, a goal of 3000 jobs was exceeded in 2018. The soft skills and work experience learned from these jobs will provide the local economy with a better-prepared workforce of the future.
“Project Indy has grown its reach every year since its inception in 2016 – providing employment opportunities and valuable soft skills for thousands of young residents in Marion County each year,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “In 2019, we hope to build upon that momentum, engaging even more young adults through our Summer Jobs Sundays, youth job fairs and Job Ready Indy program. The valuable skills these future adults learn today will mean a more educated, well-trained and successful workforce for the 21st century.”
Project Indy is available on the mobile app Project Indy Jobs, created by local tech company WorkHere, to help geographically connect users to job opportunities near their location. The Indianapolis Zoo is one of nearly 140 employers who are using Project Indy to make a difference in the life of a young adult. Ashley Lawson, a Jobs for America’s Graduates student from Decatur Central High School, worked at the Indianapolis Zoo during the summer of 2018. While at the Zoo, Ashley improved her communication skills as she interacted daily with guests and has since decided that she wants to major in Education and Zoology when she attends Ball State this fall.
“Ashley is the perfect example of how a summer job can help shape a young adult’s future,” said Judy Palermo, senior manager of public relations at the Indianapolis Zoo. “By engaging with local talent, businesses and attractions like the Zoo are able to positively impact the workforce in Indianapolis and make it possible for young adults to envision the next step in their career.”
Guiding young adults as they take the first step in their career path by gaining valuable work experience is the backbone of Project Indy. It is well-known that oftentimes individuals need to develop soft skills prior to employment, such as learning the importance of professionalism, communication skills, reliability, timeliness, work ethic, and appropriate mindsets at work.
In order to improve those skills, Mayor Hogsett worked with EmployIndy and the Indy Chamber to launch Job Ready Indy in 2018. Job Ready Indy is an employability skills program focused on providing the soft skills needed to succeed in the workplace. If an individual has completed one of the courses, a badge of completion will appear on their Project Indy profile – notifying an interested employer that they are deemed by EmployIndy and the Indy Chamber as someone who demonstrates “job ready” skills important in the workplace.
However, young adults cannot take the first steps to improve their career or community without the help of local employers.
“Young people need to have the support of our business partners to best identify their interests and talents to fill the skills gaps in our target industries,” said Angela Carr Klitzsch, President & CEO of EmployIndy. “By hiring young adults, employers have the opportunity to be a catalyst for change in our community.”
One of the largest and often overlooked benefits to businesses is that connecting with young adults directly influences the choices they make when continuing their education or career path. Employment through Project Indy is one of many ways that employers can engage with young adults. Through Job Ready Indy and other EmployIndy programs, employers can host site tours, speak about their industry in a classroom or offer job shadowing.
Project Indy is uniquely positioned to connect both the supply and demand of jobs for young adults as employers look to prepare for the summer and beyond.
Employers and job seekers age 16-24 can learn more and sign up at projectindy.net