NAWBO launches new program to inspire young entrepreneurs

INDIANAPOLIS - As Indianapolis prepares to host the National Association of Women Business Owners conference next week, a group of next-generation entrepreneurs are reaching out to inspire young people in their communities.

The Young Entrepreneur Academy is rolling out its pilot program in Marion County. The NAWBO-sponsored program aims to encourage teens to dream big.

Lisa Purichia chairs the exciting new program.

"They're going to come up with an idea to start a business, launch that business and be able to present it in front of a panel of investor judges that can then go onto a national level and potentially get some funding for their business," Purichia said.

The 30-week classroom program is for middle and high school girls and boys in Marion County, and will provide them with knowledge and skills to be an entrepreneur.

"Twenty-percent of those (teens) go on to start a second business and 50-percent of them continue on with their business for over a year," Purichia said.

As a young athlete, Arin Lindauer said she discovered a passion for helping people. She now owns her own fitness company, Transformation Fitness and Wellness. She said her inspiration came from her parents, who were also entrepreneurs.

"The YEA program is going to be so instrumental," Lindauer said.

Graduate student Kathleen Gessinger, 24, is an intern at an architecture firm and often finds herself checking out buildings around her.

"I'm always thinking of new things and what would fit in these empty spaces," Gessinger said.

She believes the YEA program will be a valuable tool for any young person. Her architect mentors are already shaping her future and the sky's the limit.

"It's contagious. It's catching on. There's going to be something coming out of my future," Gessinger said.

NAWBO's YEA program is all about putting young people on the track to become an entrepreneur.

"Anything you want to do is possible," Lindauer said.

The Indianapolis chapter of NAWBO will launch its first class of young entrepreneurs in November.

For more information about the free YEA program, click here.

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