Internship program spotlights Nashville’s Future Entrepreneurs

Marilyn Robinson and Lethia Mann of the Nashville Minority Business Center with two participants of the YESIP at the Inaugural Graduation

Marilyn Robinson and Lethia Mann of the Nashville Minority Business Center with two participants of the YESIP at the Inaugural Graduation

A group of Nashville students got the opportunity to show the public what they learned about the world of business as they presented their business ideas and projects at the Youth Entrepreneurs Spring Internship Program on June 1 at the Nashville Public Library.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Spring Internship Program (YESIP), sponsored by the Nashville Minority Business Center, is an internship program that teaches high school students various aspects of business, including business ethics and finances.

The program allows students to learn about the business sector by setting up a business plan that will reach out to consumers. Guests for the presentation included Metro Council member Scott Davis, State Rep. Karen Carpenter, and Council Member-at-Large Megan Barry.

Josh McDonald, vice president of YESIP inaugural class, said that the one thing he liked about the entrepreneurship program was that it taught the ethical side of business.

“When we started talking about business and ethics, I think that was very beneficial because we learn that business has an ethical side to it. Sometimes, money and ethics don’t always match up,” said McDonald. “That’s one of the most important things that was brought to my attention.”

Sydney Pritchard, the president of the YESIP inaugural program, said that she decided to get involved with the internship program when her mother encouraged her to learn more about business. She said that she had enrolled in a similar business class in high school.

“I learned not just the business aspect, but the ethical aspect about it, which is one of the courses we talked about,” said Pritchard. “We weren’t servicing ourselves, we’re servicing the community.”

Marilyn Robinson, director of the Nashville Minority Business Center, said the program consisted of seven modules for each session. There was a session on ethics, economics, and entrepreneurship. She said that it was a comprehensive program and they had to come up with an idea based on need and solve the problem.

Lethia Mann, an YESIP instructor, said that the students learned about “social responsibility and having a passion for the product and providing a service…”

Mann said that the students learned about what demographic a business would cater to when it comes to selling a product. The entrepreneur has to be specific on where to locate a business;  and who demographically is being targeted. “Businesses will generally fail, if they have no plan,” said Robinson. “They just have an idea.  If you have an idea, it is best to test it out on paper.”

Man said you must have the money to start up the business or seek investors for a loan.  “You must have capital to start up a business,” she said.  Marketing your business was also discussed.  “Marketing a business is very important,” she said, “ you must promote your business.”