The Milford Business Mentoring Program is underway in downtown Milford as the second year of the program continues to be a success. Participating students are learning what it takes to be an entrepreneur in today’s world from local entrepreneurs from across the state of Delaware and Milford business professionals including the owners of Abbott’s Grill, EcoChic Boutique, Fur-Baby Boutique, Milford LIVE and Georgia House.
The program is made available by Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office, and Downtown Milford, Inc. It was offered for the first time last year, graduating seven students from the Milford Senior High School.
Each student involved in the program will have a weekly opportunity to hear from guest speakers on issues such as recognizing the entrepreneurial urge, creating a business plan, finding the market niche and marketing opportunities. After each speaker session the small business students attend a shadowing session at a downtown Milford business and have the chance to ask local entrepreneurs about their business and how small business ownership works on a daily basis.
During the first session on Thursday, January 26 students had the privilege of hearing from Mr. Ken Anderson who is the Director for Entrepreneurial and Small Business Support for the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), and Executive Management for the Office of Governor Jack Markell. Ken is the central point for entrepreneurism and small business for the State of Delaware and created and chairs the Governor’s Entrepreneurial Business Conference. Mr. Anderson spoke about recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit and what it takes to be successful in the world of small business.
“Do you know the difference between a small business person and an entrepreneur? ,” asked Mr. Anderson to the Business Mentoring students. “An entrepreneur is a person who takes on the risk of a business venture that usually involves some kind of innovative concept that uses technology in some way for the purpose of accelerated their profits faster than a traditional small business.”
Mr. Anderson’s speech stressed the importance of innovation and unique practices that helps entrepreneurs succeed at higher levels.
During the second session on Thursday, February 2 students were introduced to business owner and entrepreneur Jeff Bowers. At the age of 23, during his term as a Delaware State Trooper, Jeff started The Bowers Group, a real estate investment company and has since bought and sold over 7 businesses and hundreds of properties.
“The most important thing for a business to have is a business plan,” commented Mr. Bowers. “If you do not plan, you plan to fail.” Stressing the importance of a well written business plan, Mr. Bowers showed the students his business plan when he decided to purchase Nanticoke Homes. “This stack of papers here is worth $4.5 million dollars,” stated Mr. Bowers. “It was because of this plan that I was able to get the money to purchase this large company.”
The nine students chosen for this year’s program all have ambitions of owning their own business after high school or college and have drawn on these new experiences to further develop their future plans.
“I am glad that I decided to sign up for this, because it gives me a better motivation to pursue my dreams,” commented Donique Hughes, a student of the Milford Business Mentoring Program. “This is really going to help me out and I look forward to what is to come.”
The Milford Business Mentoring Program will run through the end of March and continue to encourage Milford High School Students to pursue the path of entrepreneurism. At the end of the program the participating students and businesses will be recognized by state leaders including Governor Markell and the honorable Alan Levin, Director of Delaware Economic Development Office.