Program helps young entrepreneurs

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The Los Alamos Youth Business Grant Program is never at rest, with dozens of recipients working, due to the help of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Department.

Last summer, the program had 12 recipients, six landscaping yard work businesses, a religious jewelry making business, a weaving business, a string quartet business, T-shirt making, a greeting card and knitting business and a dog grooming business. 

Chandler Lauritzen, 14, received a grant for $400 from the YBGP.  

“If it wasn’t for the grant, I would have never started the business,” Lauritzen said. He used the funds to purchase starter supplies and begin the process of advertising. 

The Los Alamos High School student was looking for a way to earn spending money, while allowing him time for sports. 

“I liked how it gave me something to do instead of sitting on the couch watching T.V,” Lauritzen said.

The YBGP committee provides grants with varying amounts based on criteria selected by the program.

The YBGP worked with committee members Brian Korzec, Judy Ruggles, director of human resources at Buffalo Thunder; Sarah Taylor, director of the Hope Pregnancy Center; Bryan Farmer, business advisor of Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation and Heather Campbell of the LACDC. 

Korzec has been a workshop presenter for the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Small Business Development Center, offering courses on time management, stress management, leadership and building successful teams. He is the owner of KorRelations Institute.

In order to apply for the grant, students must be at least 14 years old and must submit a detailed application outlining their business plan, goals and ideas for how they will be accomplished.

Students also submit a final report, outlining their accomplishments and describing the stumbling blocks they encountered during their work. 

Lauritzen has continued with his business and the time has come for him to give back to the community that gave to him. Through his business, Christ Cross, he will donate a portion of his sales to youth projects until spring break begins.

Lauritzen attended the Search Institute conference in November and is attempting to raise funds to offset the cost of the trip and begin implementing several youth projects.

“I would like to use what I learned from the conference and apply it to events where people would find this information useful,” Lauritzen said.

The crosses sell for $10 each and are available in a variety of colors. The necklaces can also be converted into zipper pulls for coats, purses and jackets.

Green and gold have been the top sellers, with NFL and college sports team colors gaining on sales.

Christ Cross is assisting these endeavors by working with Community Matters to sell re-useable grocery bags to benefit the community in several ways. The green bags are available for $2 each and can be delivered in Los Alamos or White Rock. 

Those who wish to help can donate funds to support the Youth Business Grant Program. Volunteers are also welcome to mentor a young entrepreneur and information is available on their Web site at www.ybgp.org or by calling Emiley at 661-4803.

 Lauritzen can be reached at 672-4089 or via e-mail at Lauritzens@att.net, for questions regarding of availability of cross colors or delivery of green bags.