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Students get business help at symposium

Students get business help at symposium

SNELLVILLE – More than 100 students got a first-hand look at what it takes to create and operate a successful business at a Global Entrepreneurship Week Ideation Symposium event Wednesday at South Gwinnett High School. 

The goal of the event was to help student entrepreneurs at South Gwinnett, Mill Creek and Brookwood high schools tap the expertise of area business leaders brought together by city and the Entrepreneurship Alliance.

Photo: Snellville Arts Commissioner Alisa Boykin and city Economic Developement Manager Eric Van Otteren at the Symposium Wednesday.

Three student-run businesses from each school pitched their products to business professionals and received feedback on how to make them better.

“This Ideation Symposium is the fourth year South Gwinnett High School and the city of Snellville have partnered to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week,” said Economic Development Manager Eric Van Otteren. “The event modeled for 100 high school entrepreneurs the process of seeking an entrepreneurial venture. This year illustrated a new achievement in the Entrepreneurship Alliance initiative. All three of the students, representing their business in the on stage conversation, have achieved sales. One high school entrepreneur has earned $650 in profit. How old were you before you earned $650 in sales profit?”

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities. 

Snellville Arts Commissioner Alisa Boykin was one of the Table Mentors who offered guidance to students. She said she encouraged them to be focused by making a solid business plan, volunteering and taking part in internships as they have the opportunity to one day grow their financial empires.  

“The arts have a direct impact on economic development for the city, so (the Arts Commission) wants to build a presence within the city by working with Economic Development and igniting the innovation within our youth,” she said.  

Councilman Bobby Howard and SGHS principal Eric Thigpen welcomed the crowd. Nashville-based entrepreneur April Consulo, documentation application developer Imaad Rashied, of BluMenlo, and Hiram Sostre, a local startup business operator who is trying to develop a Spanish-speaking leadership-based program, were on the panel. 

“One of the key lessons they learned from it was they are the ones who make the difference for their business,” Van Otteren said. “It’s their passion – their execution – that is going to make the difference. They are going to make it happen or choose to not engage.”

More information about Global Entrepreneurship Week can be found at