Where does success begin?
Seeds are planted long before the entrepreneur's first million dollars in profit, before the retailer's first dollar that gets framed and hung on the wall, even before the engineer starts trying to make something in the garage that the world has never seen.
Girls Incorporated® of Chattanooga plants those seeds every year for Chattanooga's teen girls with its annual GirlVenture summer career academy. This year's four-week academy ended this week with a competition among five business plans created during by teams of participants. GirlVenture is funded through the Legg Family Foundation and the George Johnson Trust.
"These girls have not only learned about the disciplines and skills needed to create a business, they've also met with successful business women who have done what the girls have been learning about," said Maxine Bailey, CEO of Girls Inc. "The girls have had the opportunity to learn from women who've gone down that road before them and made a business work, and then to create their own business plans and have them evaluated by business people. Doing all of that takes the idea that these girls can be entrepreneurs and changes it for them from being just an abstract idea to something that they can see and feel."
Jane Lupton, former Girls Inc. Board Chair, presented awards to the winning teams. Awards were given for best written plan and best plan presentation, and each member of the winning teams received a cash prize.
Business people serving as judges include Ladell McCullough, Henderson, Hutcherson & McCullough; Frank Burke, Chattanooga Lookouts; Michael Kull, The Pulse; Brian Harper, SunTrust; Rebecca Pobieglo, Smith Barney; Katye Jones, Merrill Lynch; Jeff Olingy, Chattanooga State; and Tekelia Kelly, Sisters in Business.
The business plans developed by the girls include:
* A special needs daycare that includes an organic garden
* A hair salon
* A talent agency
* An online makeup company
* An online fashion company
The competition was held Wednesday afternoon in room 238 of the UTC Engineering Building, located at the corner of Vine and Palmetto Streets.