YES Camp at TAMIU Enjoys Popularity Among High School Entrepreneurs

Briana Martínez, a student at United High School, is fresh to the world of business but understands so far that a business must stay competitive in order to survive.

Martínez, whose father owns a trucking company in Laredo, plans to study business in college and eventually expand her family business so that it can flourish into a countrywide operation.

Today, however, she is learning the basics of enterprise through a summer program offered at Texas A&M International University.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Summer (YES) Camp, taught by economics professor Dr. Michael Patrick, is now in its fifth year of operation and is designed to provide high school upperclassmen an opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial talents and interests through the development of a business plan. The program, which has enjoyed success over the years, is also being offered simultaneously at the CC-Win High School campus in Eagle Pass this year.

Topics covered in class include the definition of an entrepreneur, characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, rewards and challenges of entrepreneurship, importance of entrepreneurship in the American economy, how to select a business and how the successful business satisfies a consumer need. In addition, students learn marketing insights, business costs, financing strategy and how to raise capital for a business.

The program consists of 20 hours of class and 25 hours of entrepreneurship practicum. Students receive three University semester credit hours for attending the YES Camp. Since its inception, the YES Camp has enrolled 143 student participants from Laredo area high schools, said Dr. Patrick.

Martínez said she is glad to be enrolled in the program.

"I was always interested in business. This is something good because it gives you a first-time experience in business," she said.

Like Martínez, Diana Villarreal, a United High School student, said is enrolling in the class because she, too, would like to expand her family business.

Villarreal, whose mother owns a jewelry store in downtown Laredo, said she envisions turning her mother's business from a sole-proprietorship into a corporation.

"What I like about the YES Camp is that I'll be able to plan a business. This will help me prepare for the future," she said.

Meanwhile, Melody Baker, a student at San Augustine High School, said the Camp has been informative.

"I am learning about accounting and how things in business are categorized a certain way. It also explains to you why your customers are the most important," she said.

Patrick said the program has received widespread community support over the years.

This year's sponsors are the Laredo Development Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank, Laredo National Bank, Laredo Manufacturers Association, Laredo Chamber of Commerce, South Texas National Bank and Junior Achievement of Laredo.

For further information, please contact Patrick at 326-2547, e-mail or visit offices located in the Western Hemispheric Trade Center, room 221D. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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