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20/20 Challenge: Shreveport teen aims to cultivate young entrepreneurs

Kate Archer Kent

An 18-year-old Shreveport software developer is launching a summer business program for teenage entrepreneurs who want to learn how to start and grow a business.

Justin Martin says he’ll pair each student with a mentor who will assist the teens as they progress through various stages of business development. Martin says this new program, called the 20/20 Challenge, is to get teens to act on ideas that have been percolating in their head.

“If someone shows up and has an idea that’s fully developed, and says, but I need the practical knowledge of how to do that. That would be amazing,” Martin said. “We don’t expect to get a lot of people like that. We expect to get some people who say, OK, I have this idea. What do I do next?”

The teens will be able to compete for prizes, including the ability to present at the DigiFest South Exhibition in Bossier City in September. Martin aims to attract about a dozen teens to this program. They will meet on Saturdays during the summer for entrepreneurship workshops at Caddo Career and Technology Center. Martin expects many different ideas will come forth.

“We haven’t had anything like this targeting teenagers in Shreveport/Bossier. So, I really don’t know what kind of projects we’re going to get. Someone might say, Oh I have this idea for a game for your iPhone, and someone else might come in and say, I have this idea to make a prosthetic limb better,” Martin said.

Applications for the 20/20 Challenge will be accepted during May. Two information sessions will be held on April 19 and 26 from 9 - 11 a.m. at Caddo Career and Technology Center in Shreveport.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.