Student Painters will offer young entrepreneurs a leg up
Young Entrepreneurs Across America has come to Tennessee for the first time in history, choosing Chattanooga as a source for entrepreneurial growth…and a fresh coat of paint.
Forest Smith, a 19-year-old business management major at UTC, is one of six branch mangers for the new entrepreneur-based company based here, Student Painters. Young Entrepreneurs Across America (YEAA) oversees many programs, one of which is Student Painters. YEAA representatives bring branches to college campuses across the US and seek to employ student managers. They invest in the entrepreneurs—not the company’s revenue. YEAA’s goal is to give students a way to gain experience in their field.
The new Chattanooga branch of Student Painters kicked off in December 2014. The entirely student-run business is based in the Signal Mountain area and their office will be up and running by March, according to Smith.
The team has one regional executive manager, but the Chattanooga branch is run by the branch managers, a four-person marketing team, and soon-to-be-hired five-to-six painters. The company is currently working on organization and marketing. Smith said that the painting service will begin in either April or May 2015.
Smith and the other branch managers will attend a Regional Leadership Conference, which will give them help from other regions as they move forward in their business. YEAA gives students the “blueprints” for running a business. As one of the branch managers, Smith was given a binder from YEAA containing the necessary steps and directions students would need to build a business from the ground up. “The first thing that I did was make a 22-page business plan,” he said.
Smith related the business process to the stock market. “[YEAA] invests in me,” he explained. The students running Student Painters receive compensation for their work and YEAA also provides them with benefits and insurance policies. “YEAA allows me to get the experience for the abilities I already possess,” he noted.
Smith’s personal mission for the company is to create a “positive community impact.” His plan for the revenue generated from the business is to invest in nonprofit organizations benefiting the environment, mentioning donating money to the Chattahoochee Riverkeepers for water purification.
His ambition is for customers to feel appreciation. Student Painters, he explained, is the opposite of big, multimillion-dollar corporations because it employs young entrepreneurs who care about their work and their customers. Another branch started using the social media hashtag #southernhousepatality, which Smith said was the perfect encompassment of the business’ mission.
Student Painters will offer exterior work on any type of building. The business itself will be a positive impact on the community because, Smith said, “fresh paint adds a new breath that livens up the community.”
By bringing Student Painters to Chattanooga, YEAA is opening the door for college students to gain valuable work experience. YEAA invests in students as the future of America’s business world by creating a bridge that opens future opportunities and networking possibilities.