Still just a junior at the Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, Kathy Hu already has a leg up on the competition, thanks to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge. Through the program, hosted at LSU’s business school, Hu, 16, conceptualized Bookmarked, a social network designed around virtual book clubs.
Attending the eight-month program as a sophomore, Hu said its network of resources helped her hone her idea celebrating her passion for reading into a fully functioning app that will include rewards and a social media interface to connect people with others who share a passion for reading.
“Bookmarked is not actually a developed website yet because I’m working on making a minimal viable product and I’m currently contacting other people in order to see if I can get my website rolling,” Hu said. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy provided Hu and her peers, ranging from middle school to high school students, with multiple mentors and resources to refine ideas into potential businesses. One of the resources she was provided as part of the program was access to the technology necessary to craft a mock-up of her website, as well as learning how to make a press release and file her business with the Secretary of State.
At the end of the program in April, the class, which provides students with college credits at LSU’s business school, presented their projects and business ideas to a panel of judges. In addition to learning skills to manage a business and craft a proposal, Hu said the program also taught public speaking and confidence to the young entrepreneurs while expanding their network.
“The thing I took away most was how important a community and network is,” Hu said. “I had an ‘aha moment’ where I realized that having a network is important, especially if you want to connect with a lot of individuals and succeed in having a business.”