Unemployed and Underemployed Adults of the Sea Islands Kick Start Their Entrepreneurial Futures

While most entrepreneurship programs focus on igniting the entrepreneurial spark, the YEScarolina Sea Islands Entrepreneurship program has a greater purpose – to generate income for unemployed or underemployed adults. Whether the I-526 extension construction happens or not, John’s Island is the next boom-town for commercial and residential development therefore we want the residents of the area to be prepared for the next growth spurt and be able to have a piece of the action. With this in mind, our partnership created a program that teaches basic entrepreneurial skills to unemployed or underemployed adults. In 2011, YEScarolina hosted the same program in Marion County where thirteen adults took the course and three started a business. In 2012, the Marion County entrepreneurship pilot program for unemployed adults won the national Leavey Award for excellence in private enterprise – awarded by the Freedom Foundation. Several of the adults have been unemployed for months, yet we understand they have the drive and ambition, but just need the guidance to get started.  This thirty hour, five week program meets three days a week at Charleston Collegiate School on Johns Island. The program currently has twenty adults and is designed for these individuals to start a micro-business which would utilize their resources and require little to no start-up capital. The format of each class consists of lecture, group activities, and class discussions.  Attendees are required to complete sections of a business plan at the end of each class.

Thanks to the generosity of the Kiawah CaresHall’s ChophouseKing Street Commercial, & the Bakker Family Fund the program is offered free of charge! The classroom portion of the Sea Island Entrepreneurship Program began on January 13, 2014 and will culminate February 25, 2014 where each participant will be given the opportunity to present their business plan to a panel of local business leaders for the chance to win start-up funds and receive critical feedback from experienced business people. First place winner will receive $250, second place $200, & third place $150. The public and press are invited to attend the business plan competition at 7 pm on Tuesday, February 25th.

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