Murphy Chamber Launch Young Entrepreneur Program at Maize Days
Pictured Above: Cece Walker stands outside the tent she used to bring her Escape Room to Maize Days
The Murphy Chamber of Commerce has announced their intention to actively support young entrepreneurship in Murphy during this September’s community Maize Days celebration. Last year’s Maize Days event was the first time the Chamber experimented with this kind of program by arranging booth space for Murphy students with a business idea.
Juli Richards, Executive Director for the Chamber, arranged for a sponsor to cover the typical cost associated with renting a booth during the community event. “Republic Services was such a great sponsor” recalled Richards, “as soon as I approached them with the idea of inspiring local kids to promote their business ideas with donated booth space, they were very eager to help us make that happen.”
Chamber committee members tasked to recruit young entrepreneurs quickly identified several area students who had been using social media to promote their products and services. Cece Walker, a student at McMillen Highschool, accepted the opportunity to take her “Escape Room” she had previously hosted a few times in the family garage, and made it come to life for Maize Days. “Moving what we had done at home out to the field at Maize Days took a little bit of adjustment,” reported Walker. “Having a large tent for players to escape from didn’t take away from the adventure at all.” Walker would have been very pleased to have just a handful of people come thru her Escape Room, and was surprised to see more than 30 groups participate throughout the day on a growing list of fastest times being posted.
One booth down from Cece’s Escape Room was a business containing what most people would expect from a stereotypical young entrepreneur. Laney’s Lemonade was operated throughout the day by 7th grader from Murphy Middle School, Laney Ames. Ames, who had two younger brothers holding signs throughout the day drawing foot traffic close to her booth for samples, reflected on the day, “It was hard work, but it was worth it to be able to see profit be bigger than expenses throughout the day by more than 5 times.”
This year the Chamber’s plan is to expand on last year’s pilot program to include room for additional young entrepreneurs wanting to be featured in Maize Day’s “Chamber Row” in September. After that, adding to a growing program that will train young future business owners is an initiative that current board members of the Murphy Chamber of Commerce are in process of developing. Those interested in being considered to occupy a booth for this year’s Young Entrepreneur program can contact Juli Richards at email@example.com.