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Mayor Hunter Encourages Youth and Promotes Entrepreneurship by Kimberly Dellafosse

Throughout the country, small businesses serve as catalysts for economic growth. Locally, the same concept holds true. The impact of small businesses on the economy in Southwest Louisiana is evident in the number of jobs and services they provide to residents. The fuel that drives small businesses in Southwest Louisiana and throughout the nation is without a doubt the small business owner. This critical facet of the local economy is on the radar of Mayor Nicholas Hunter. Mayor Hunter’s focus on the future of small businesses in this community is greatly due to the fact that he, too, is a business owner. This first-hand experience has prompted the Mayor to examine what can be done to ensure that this community has a new crop of individuals willing to embrace business ownership as a career path. As a result, Mayor Hunter has decided to share his experiences and what he has learned as both a young entrepreneur and a restauranteur with young people in the community. During the City of Lake Charles’ bi-monthly Teen Connection seminar scheduled on Thursday, May 3, Mayor Hunter will present a session entitled, “So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur.” When asked why teaching young people about entrepreneurship is important, he said,“Entrepreneurship is a driver of innovation and

March 2018

social development in a community, and innovation and social development are what I desire to see in the City of Lake Charles.” Mayor Hunter believes that children are never too young to learn about the steps required to launch a business and the benefits and challenges associated with being your own boss. “I began working in my grandparents’ restaurant when I was 12 years old, and over time, the experience prepared me to assume the role as owner when I was only 17 years old. Unfortunately, not all children have that same opportunity.That’s why this class is so important.” Teen Connection was launched in October 2017 and since that time, Hunter and his staff have worked diligently to develop the initiative into one that offers quality programming for students in middle school and high school. Through Teen Connection, Hunter aspires to redefine afterschool programs. To this he states, “Research has proven that if you introduce the kind of information to young people on a regular basis that we are presenting in Teen Connection, you can improve a young person’s academic and career outcomes.” Previous Teen Connection sessions have covered a variety of topics ranging from ACT prep to resume writing, but with the May 3 session, Hunter has an even bigger goal in mind. “Imagine what can become of the City of Lake Charles if we train our

young people to channel their creativity and dreams into ideas that ultimately become fully functioning business enterprises; this would change the landscape of our economy and propel our City into another stratosphere.” While some may question how a class on entrepreneurship can have this effect on a city, Hunter believes that it is possible. “The origin of every great business is an idea, and if we are successful at teaching young people the fundamentals of launching and operating a business, and they are able to

combine this knowledge with their vision, then this will only serve as a boost for the City of Lake Charles’ economy and Southwest Louisiana as a whole.” Teen Connection—So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur will take place Thursday, May 3, at the Donald Ray Stevens Recreation Center located at 1619 Cessford Street. The session begins at 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. For more information about Teen Connection, contact Kimberly Dellafosse, the City of Lake Charles’ Assistant City Administrator at 337-491-1388.

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