NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The fifth floor of Slover Library in Norfolk is turning into a think tank where young entrepreneurs are hoping to turn their ideas into real businesses, making real money.
The program is called YES, which stands for Young Entrepreneurs Society. Young people with dreams and ideas to start their own business will meet twice a month and at the end of the summer, pitch their ideas to potential investors.
10 On Your Side’s Stephanie Harris spoke with a couple young ladies who can’t wait for the opportunity.
13-year-old Mackenzie Hansen has a sketchbook full of ideas, including a glass eye.
“It will take in information from the world around the eye, like a regular eye would, and send it to the optic nerve into the brain,” she said.
Her dream though is to open a restaurant combining her two passions: Cooking and forensic science.
“It’s kind of like escape rooms only better, because you get to eat while you’re there.”
A modern twist on dinner theater, she has it all sketched out from the chalk outline on the floor to the black lights and bullet holes.
Another young entrepreneur, Pertina Smith, wants to open a gymnastics center.
“The title is called ‘Flip Out’ and the slogan is called ‘You’re never too old to flip out.'”
22-year-old Smith came up with an idea after learning she was too old to take beginner classes at local studios.
“Literally all the places were like, ‘No, only ages to 17 or 18.’ I’m like, ‘This sucks, what about me?'”
These young ladies are precisely who the library has in mind for the YES program.
“They will learn things from pitching their ideas, creating websites, writing a business plan, raising capital, marketing their ideas,” said librarian Liz Powell.
At the end of the summer, potential investors will listen to their pitches.
“All the judges who are going to participate in the contest are open to the idea of either providing a service or small investment to the companies.”
YES! kicks off Friday afternoon, April 21, at 3:00 p.m. It’s open to anyone ages 13 to 26 and it’s free.