Youth entrepreneurship event planned

Published 6:00 am Friday, April 30, 2021

The SOVA Innovation Hub will have a Youth Entrepreneurship Kickoff Wednesday, May 5, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The free virtual event will use the Zoom video meeting platform.

All students in grades 8-12 are encouraged to participate, no matter what academic path they are on or what level of interest they currently have in starting a business.

The event will provide an engaging, informal learning experience for students to explore entrepreneurship as a career pathway, network with business leaders in the region, and understand next steps for starting a business.

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The event will begin with two interactive sessions aimed at defining entrepreneurship, led by Ilsa Loeser, principal and founder of Letterpress Communications, and Melanie Saunders, an educator and entrepreneur in Halifax County. There will also be a panel discussion, where students can listen and learn from real life stories from local entrepreneurs and business executives from a variety of industries. This will be followed by breakout sessions, where each student can choose to enter a smaller group learning session based on their industry of interest, including agriculture and forestry, beauty and fashion, construction and trades, health and wellness, entertainment, marketing and influencing, food & restaurants, products and manufacturing, science and technology, and outdoor recreation.

Jacob Dolence, a faculty member at Longwood University, is part of the event planning team and will help facilitate the agriculture and forestry session.

“I’m looking forward to helping students think about where our food, furniture, clothing or houses come from,” Dolence said. “The future of these things will rely on innovation in the agriculture and forestry industries. Many opportunities exist to launch businesses to literally help grow and build our future. From using technology to make crops grow better, to figuring out ways to utilize lumber more efficiently for building stronger and cheaper houses, to developing new fabrics and dyes for fashion – the potential is unlimited.”

The event will conclude with a discussion about next steps for students interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, including a presentation about MajorClarity, a career exploration and academic planning platform that empowers students to discover career pathways and search for work-based learning opportunities within the region. In the final session, students will be asked to share their feedback on the event and provide input for future youth entrepreneurship training opportunities.

The SOVA Youth Entrepreneurship Kickoff is free to attend, but pre-registration is required. To register for the event and to view a detailed agenda with a list of speakers, visit