Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Teens get introduction to entrepreneurship in Española

Teams develop and present business plans
July 18, 2019
Eric Quintana of PMI (left) with Laboratory Director Thom Mason at the ceremonial signing of PMI’s subcontract with the Lab.

Julianna Barbee, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Northern New Mexico College, works with one of the Teen Biz teams

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  • Director, Community Partnerships Office
  • Kathy Keith
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"What impressed me most about the teams was their quick ability to embrace change, find each other’s strengths and not worry about who was getting the credit."- Julianna Barbee, Director of the SBDC

Giving teenagers from Northern New Mexico an insight into entrepreneurship was the aim of Española Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Teen Biz Challenge that took place June 6-7.

The skills required to setup and run a business is not something covered in schools in much detail, but 2018 figures from the U.S. Small Business Administration show that more than half of New Mexico workers are employed by small businesses.

So how do you learn how to develop a viable business idea, design your product or service, work out pricing and marketing, and how to pitch your idea?

Sixteen teenagers from Espanola Valley High, Los Alamos High, Pojoaque High, and Taos Academy were given instruction and hands-on experience in the process as they formed four teams to develop and present business plans to a panel of judges.

"What impressed me most about the teams was their quick ability to embrace change, find each other’s strengths and not worry about who was getting the credit,” said Julianna Barbee, Director of the SBDC.

"If a group of teens can come together from different schools, diverse backgrounds and different ages and work together as a team to come up with one business idea to present in two days, adult entrepreneurs can also learn from them."

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Four teams developed ideas for their potential business and then put together and presented a business plan.

The young business people came up with plans that included pet care services, a biodegradable water bottle company, with the winner of the overall prize being "Grandparents on the Go", a business that would see teens would supplying services and help for the elderly.

Other teams won additional awards, and there were also individual prizes for outstanding effort.

“The young people showed real enthusiasm and commitment,” said Vangie Trujillo from the Laboratory’s Community Partnerships Office. “We look forward to helping this program grow with the hopes of turning these young entrepreneurs into future business owners.”

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Young people from Espanola, Pojoaque, Los Alamos and Taos took part in the two-day event held in Española.