Memphis woman hosts camp to inspire youth to become entrepreneurs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One Crittenden County business woman is doing her part to create the next generation of business owners.

It's not a new idea, but it's a different approach.

"Any kid can go outside and make a lemonade stand, but how do you make that lemonade stand successful?" business owner, Emily Smith said.

Smith says it's not about selling lemonade, but about teaching the art of running a successful business and giving back.

"I want them to understand an entrepreneur is someone who opens a business, works for themselves and makes money at the end of the day. But they also give back to the community."

Smith owns Front Row Boutiques and more than a dozen other businesses.

One day she posted on Facebook that she was thinking of putting on a camp to mold young business owners, and the idea took off.

"My first class was filled up in five minutes, and my second was filled up in 10 to 15 minutes," Smith said.

This week, the 5th and 6th graders learned everything from creating business plans to investing and turning failed attempts into successes.

"Why did your Harry Potter wands not work, or why did your slime businesses fail? I think they've learned it's because they didn't have businesses plans," Smith said.

She says introducing the idea of ownership is the first step.

"I have not had a kid yet at the camp that can pronounce the word entrepreneur and know the definition."

For some campers, it plants the seed.

"I really want to own my own business. I don't know what it would be yet, but I still have a lot of years to think about it," camper Aynslee Coad said.

Though these campers are young, Smith says it's never too early too start.

"I started my first business at 15 in Forrest City, Arkansas. I had a snow cone business. It wasn't just a little pop up stand."

Last week, campers donated the $5,000 they made to St. Jude. This week, they are shooting to top that and will be donating all the proceeds to local charities in Crittenden County.