Clovis North senior Dayna Thai didn’t know what to do with all of her old dance leotards, so she came up with an idea for an online marketplace for other dancers in her proverbial shoes.
“Dance Emporium is an online marketplace for dancers to sell their used dance apparel,” said the 17-year-old who had accumulated lots of costumes over the past 13 years as a dancer. “Dancers can take their unused dance items and create their own storefront and listing page … and they can browse through the marketplace to find items that they need.”
Thai pitched this idea to a panel of investors through the Clovis Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) and was awarded $200 to help make the idea a reality.
“It’s not up and running,” Thai said of the website. “But I do have a splash page as a sample of what it would look like.”
YEA! started in 2004 to turn middle and high school students into skilled entrepreneurs. The program has graduated more than 900 students over the past 9 years. Participants have started more than 550 businesses and social movements.
Although Thai has other plans for her future -- she will attend the University of the Pacific in the fall to begin a six-year dental program -- she found YEA! to be an informative experience.
“We got to come up with creative ideas and put together a business plan, something people my age don’t get to do very often,” she said. “We also developed our public speaking skills and writing skills. It was a very fun experience to work with web designers and mentors to help me through the process.”
Thai said she participated in YEA! to learn the business skills she’ll need to develop her own practice as an orthodontist in the years to come.
“I would tell other students to definitely come into YEA! with an idea,” she said. “This program will help these students explore the business world and help turn it into a reality.”
Young Entrepreneurs Academy classes start in November. Apply at www.clovischamber.com/programs/young_entrepreneurs_academy.