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FMU, legislators and YEScarolina partner to bring family entrepreneurship program to Marion County

FLORENCE – In a tough economy, families have to learn new skills to get by. Some are even opening their own business. For one family in Marion, a youth and parent entrepreneurship training program where participants learn how to start their own small business has opened some unique possibilities.

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Battle, Youth Entrepreneurship South Carolina (YEScarolina), a program partner of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and Francis Marion University’s School of Business, will assist Karla McCall and her three children in starting their own home health care business. McCall is a nursing student at FMU and said she has always dreamed of owning her own business but didn’t know where to begin.

“My daughter came home from school one day to tell me about it and I thought, wouldn’t this be a great program for me and all of my children,” said McCall. “Education is very important to me and I want it to be very important to my children as well. This is educating them on another level.”

The intensive, summer program for teen entrepreneurs and their parents is being held in the Marion County Technical Education Center from June 7-24 and focuses on innovation as well as the practical steps needed to start a business, said Brianna Zhang, who administers the program and is manager of the School of Business’ Small Business Institute (SBI) at FMU. Family teams explore their creativity, learn the value of teamwork, meet new friends and have fun while learning what it takes to start a business and be your own boss.

“Some programs are designed to assist young people in actually designing and launching their own new business venture. Others teach the principles and steps of doing so, but students simply write business plans without actually incorporating a new enterprise,” said Zhang. “The programs from which these tools are drawn do a good job of incorporating a strong sense of business ethics among students and the parent participants, as well as emphasizing life skills that reach beyond the business sphere.”

The idea was birthed when the founder and director of YEScarolina, Jimmy Bailey, read a newspaper article concerning the high unemployment rate in Marion. He was moved to contact Battle, Sen. Kent Williams and FMU President Luther F. Carter to discuss the possibility of starting the program’s first youth and parent entrepreneurship program. When asked to support the effort, Bailey said each gave an answer of yes.

“We all want to see our young people become successful, productive citizens. We know that the chances of this happening are far better when parents are involved,” Bailey said. “I believe the children of the Pee Dee are born with gifts that prepare them to be very successful business people if someone will touch them early enough in life.”

Battle said this program is a chance for the residents of the Pee Dee to create jobs for themselves using the expertise of FMU’s School of Business.

“For a university to work with middle and high school children is phenomenal,” Battle said. “This is a wonderful county with wonderful people and we don’t want to lose them. We are grateful to have Francis Marion and YEScarolina working to bridge the academic experience with the real world and expand students’ horizons beyond the classroom.”

For more information about the youth and parent entrepreneurship training program or SBI, visit or contact Zhang at (843) 661-1112,

FMU’s Donald E. Kelley Small Business Institute

In addition to supporting students who are on the entrepreneurial track, the Donald E. Kelley Small Business Institute (SBI) assists small-business owners in the Pee Dee area who are in need of a helping hand to start a business plan. Part of FMU’s School of Business since 1972, the charge of SBI is to teach and support entrepreneurship and innovation in the academic, business and nonprofit communities.   


YEScarolina is a nonprofit organization created to offer South Carolina educators the opportunity to utilize curriculum written by acclaimed business teacher Steve Mariotti, founder of NFTE. Through entrepreneurship education, YEScarolina helps young people from communities statewide build skills and unlock their entrepreneurial creativity. 


Last Published: June 9, 2010 3:45 PM
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