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E-Day gives high school students business advice

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Students got down to business Friday for Jefferson Community College’s eighth annual Entrepreneurship Day, also known as E-Day.

About 100 teenagers from local high schools came to the college to compete for the best business concept and learn business practices from successful local entrepreneurs.

“We do this every year to allow students to bring their concepts forward,” said Dawn M. Robinson, JCC instructor of business. “It’s an opportunity to let their entrepreneurial skills unleash.”

Teams from Watertown, Indian River Central and Edward-Knox Central high schools competed for the top three spots. Additionally, students from Copenhagen Central and Lowville Academy high schools also attended to watch the presentations and receive business advice from Johnny Spezzano, owner of Yo-Johnny Frozen Yogurt, and Jay M. Matteson, Jefferson County agricultural coordinator. Other successful area businesses, such as Old McDonald’s Farm in Sackets Harbor and Coyote Moon Vineyards of Clayton, had tables set up for a business networking expo in the McVean Student Center lounge so students could pick their brains for tried-and-true business practices.

“Because these are high school students, we wanted to have an additional kick in there,” said Vidhi V. Udeshi, 19-year-old JCC student and president of the business club.

During his presentation, Mr. Spezzano discussed the importance of advertising when starting a new business.

“There’s a lot of risk, but there’s a lot of reward,” he said.

Spending money on advertising is just as important as choosing the right location, he stressed.

Watertown seniors Bernet Abaibekova and Tian Chen won first place with their concept for local foreign language courses. The two are foreign exchange students.

“A lot of Americans are trying to learn a second language,” Tian said. She said that online courses are difficult to learn other languages with.

Bernet said presenting the concept was more than just having a great business idea.

“You have to know how to do public speaking and practice the presentation,” she said.

Indian River students came in second with “Shape It Up,” an effort to bring the gym to the client’s home. Edward-Knox students came in third with another fitness concept: HKH Health and Fitness Center.

During the morning presentations, students had to show the judges their anticipated expenses for the first year of business, how much staff is necessary to run the business and any possible area competitors, among other factors.

Indian River seniors Larinna E. Hartwick and Morgan M. Nabywaniec came to watch fellow classmates present their business concept, “Shape It Up.”

“I learned there are different ways to open a business,” said Morgan, who takes a team business class at her school. “I learned about how they work and how important location is.”

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