Enquirer Herald

York college student gets hands-on lesson in business

There’s a trend among at least a handful of local entrepreneurs. They’re getting younger.

Thomas Aggeles of York is now a junior international business student at the College of Charleston. He’s spending his summer marketing and running a painting business in York, Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, Steele Creek and wherever else he can find work.

He started last week on a 15-home slate that could include an apartment complex, and definitely includes room to grow.

“We still have most of June, July and August free,” Aggeles said.

The new business operates through Young Entrepreneurs Across America. The organization gives students like Aggeles a shot at running their own business. A partnership with Sherwin-Williams helps start-ups in 20 states offer competitive rates.

“Students run the company,” Aggeles said. “Students hire. Students run payroll. We’re essentially getting real world experience running a business.”

The local company, Student Painters, began work May 13 in Rock Hill. The next day, they had side-by-side homes in The Palisades. Aggeles hired friends from high school and his brother, about five employees, and now spends much of his time contacting prospective clients.

Student entrepreneurs train their employees. They provide paying jobs throughout the summer and have to figure out how to manage a profit themselves. They get support from the national program. Plus, they get the experience of laboring to make business work.

“We’re going to 10 hours a day, 40 hours a week,” Aggeles said.

Make Your Mark

The York resident isn’t the only one in the area eying the value of young business leaders. Winners will be announced Wednesday after a month-long Make Your Mark program at Olympic High School in Steele Creek. Students kicked off the event March 11 at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Entrepreneurs Organization Charlotte and Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas partnered with the school on student-written and implemented business plans. Eight teams planned and ran businesses on $150 in start-up money and instruction from community and school business leaders.

“These are actual micro-businesses that students developed a business plan for with a mentor from the Entrepreneurs Organization and have been operating through an investment provided by the Entrepreneurs Organization,” said Mike Realon, career and community development coordinator at Olympic.

Reginald Harris, business education instructor at Olympic, worked with students throughout the process. He’s hopeful the community partnerships will have a lasting impact on students.

“The objective is to combine class instruction to the real world experiences of creating, running and maintaining a business,” Harris said.