By Nikole Dugger
Instead of subsisting on daytime television and microwaved Spaghetti O’s, several local students spent the first month of summer vacation developing business plans.
The fourth annual Girls Inc. GirlVenture Entrepreneurship Academy culminated Thursday as teams presented Reach for the Stars Daycare, Cultural Styles of Beauty, Reach Creations, JCCD Productions and Inner Beauty Cosmetics to a panel of judges.
“This has helped me realize how to bring something out of myself I didn’t know I have,” said Jamiecia Love, a 14-year-old Boyd-Buchanan student and a member of the day care team, which was selected as the competition’s written plan winner.
Cultural Styles of Beauty received recognition for having the best presentation plan, and team member, Aisha McGee said she hopes to make the business a reality one day, though the month of dedication was rough.
“It was hard-fought —; just like a whole other school year,” said the 15-year old Central High School student.
Seventeen girls and four peer counselors had met on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday since the beginning of June to learn about the process, with guest lecturers from local businesses visiting frequently.
“Even if the girls don’t become business owners, they have gained exposure to budgeting and money management,” said Maxine Bailey, president and CEO of Girls Inc.
The program allowed extra familial bonding for sisters Rolisha,16, and Maadiye Davis,15, and now that it has run its course, their focus becomes more iindividualistic —; as Rolisha heads to band camp and Maadiye hits the hardwood at volleyball camp.
“It’s been a great opportunity to work with girls my age and learn about all their different personalities,” said Rolisha, who worked as a peer counselor. “They’re all special in their own way.”
After a conversation with her physician mother, Maadiye said she was inspired to have the day care cater to special needs children and said that the program provided a venue for girls in the Scenic City to come together.
“With the latest violence in Chattanooga, it’s a good way to stay out of trouble and get to know others in the community,” said the aspiring pediatrician.
Several participants said they are looking forward to next year’s program and maintaining involvement.
“We intend to carry it forward,” Ms. Bailey said. “I don’t think the girls are going to let us drop it.”
E-mail Nikole Dugger at email@example.com