Launch Kinect gives young entrepreneurs their start

June 24, 2015 | Times Free Press | Meaghan Pittman

"Even though school is long out of session, 25 students from Howard High School, Brainerd High School, Tyner Academy and Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy found themselves at the Chattanooga Library early in the morning.They were participating in Launch Kinect, a program that helps students in Chattanooga fulfill their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs, said Derelle Roshell, high school business coach. Launch Kinect aims to give area high school students a hands-on experience with area businesses, Roshell said. In school business classes, students are dealt instruction which can be helpful for young entrepreneurs. “But it’s totally different to get out there and meet people and experience it,” Roshell said. “Kinect gives these students a chance to make connections with businesses and get what they need to grow in life and start their business.” The week-long activities changed focus daily — with certain days centering on customer service and marketing, finances and life skills. “We’ve been hearing from different businesses, like FSG Bank, so now those students know more about finances for personal and business,” he said. “And then Taylor Monen from Taco Mamacita shared with us about professionalism and how that can help your business.” As a Howard High School student, Roshell worked with the Launch Business program in school. They asked him to return this summer to help lead students in the Kinect program this year. “I just think this program can help open the eyes of students by giving them hands-on experiences with businesses and making those connections,” he said. “There are also unexpected benefits— these students are from different schools but they are fast friends and are helping build bridges and build each other up in confidence. That’s what we really like to see happen.”