Three area teens recently participated in the 2014 Student Entrepreneur Program, developed through a partnership between the Leadership North Alumni Association, Inc. and Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University.

The two entities joined forces to help develop the region’s next generation of business owners and community leaders via the summer program, which is open to students who have an idea or product they believe will be successful in the marketplace or for those teens interested in learning more about business development, marketing and entrepreneurship, said Carla Sibille, LNAA president.

Free to students in Baker, Central, Zachary and East and West Feliciana and Pointe Coupee parishes entering ninth through 12th grade, organizers encouraged the teens to apply no matter where they were in the development process.

Three June sessions led by business development experts were conducted at the SBDC on Southern’s Baton Rouge campus.

“The program taught the students how to create, build and grow a successful business and included a business pitch competition,” Sibille said.

For the program’s conclusion, the teens prepared a presentation of their marketing plan for their business, product or future career path and took part in the pitch competition before two judges and an audience on July 18.

Raven Moore, a student at Zachary High School, won the competition and a $450 cash prize for her product idea related to the pageant industry and her business, Elite Style.

“Raven presented a very well-developed explanation of her initial product offering, as well as her marketing plan,” Sibille said.

Moore will receive additional support in bringing her business to market.

Home-schooled student Quindell Green, of Alsen, which is near Baker, received a $100 cash award for his presentation on Green Lawns by Quindell, his existing lawn care and landscape business that he intends to expand.

Jessica Jackson, of Slaughter, who attends Slaughter Community Charter School, received a $100 cash award for her presentation about her future career path of becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Jackson researched and developed the timeline and steps necessary to accomplish her worthy goal, Sibille said.

Additionally, the three participants received a certificate, T-shirt and tote bag.

Leona Burrell, director of the SBDC at Southern, and Brian Skelton, a commercial banker with Whitney Bank, judged the competition.

“Both judges did a wonderful job encouraging the students and providing positive feedback,” Sibille said. “The StEP program would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of Tracy Bethley, vice president and a director of LNAA, who worked incredibly hard to bring StEP to fruition, and William Hawn, a trainer and counselor at SBDC, who did an exceptional job engaging the students.”

Several area businesses provided funding, products and supplies that were vital to the program.

“The 2015 StEP pilot program was a great success, and LNAA and SBDC look forward to a continued partnership to bring StEP to other area students,” Sibille said.

For information on LNAA or StEP, call Sibille at (225) 235-9476. For information on the SBDC, call Burrell at (225) 774-9213.