TROY — Students in Troy High School’s entrepreneurship and personal finance classes were paid a special visit on Thursday morning by area professionals who are experts on crafting one’s own business.
Nicole Loy, executive director of Troy Main Street, and DeWayne Williams, co-owner of ALN Senior Care & Home Services and Be You Boutique, shared a presentation citing their advice on what it takes to pursue entrepreneurship in Miami County.
According to entrepreneurship instructor Sue Phillis, Loy and Williams were invited as a means to give students firsthand experience in addition to their classroom studies.
“The students were doing a project in four phases, where they have to create their own business,” Phillis said. “That included creating their slogan and their logo, the taxes and permits they need to get, and all that goes into it. I mentioned Troy Main Street in class, and students didn’t know what it was. I called Troy Main Street and asked if they’d be willing to come.”
“Mrs. Phillis said her students had some questions, and asked if I could e-mail these responses,” Loy said. “She also said, ‘If you ever had an opportunity to stop by, maybe you could answer those questions in person.’ I told Mrs. Phillis I’d love to, and would bring a local business owner along.
“A lot of the questions were business-oriented, and with an entrepreneurship class, you really want someone’s who’s got great ideas. DeWayne has so many great ideas with his businesses, I thought he’d be the perfect person to come.”
DeWayne Williams and his fiancee, Amanda Gibson, own multiple businesses in the Troy area, including ALN Senior Care & Home Services, which opened January 2016, and Be You Boutique, which opened March 2018.
“I feel very honored to be asked to be part of this,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, I just want kids to know they’re the future of our community and our coutnry, and that they can do anything they put their mind to. All it takes is an idea, and as long as you put the effort into making it happen, things will grow. You can be successful know matter what you do.”
During three separate classroom sessions, Loy and Williams discussed such topics as the cost to keep a business running, criteria for downtown storefronts, insurance and marketing needs, and strategies for hiring a staff.
Loy and Williams also asked students what businesses they would like to see come downtown, with such examples cited as a men’s clothing store and a business that sells pizza by the slice.
“The response has been very positive,” Williams said. “We already have some young entrepreneurs that are working toward their goals while sitting here in high school, and I think that’s great.”
“One of the things that DeWayne talked about is how important networking is,” Loy said. “Every class, we’ve had someone come up and talk to us about a business they’ve started or would like to start.”
“The students I’ve spoken to have said it’s been very interesting,” Phillis said. “They didn’t know what was going on in Troy behind the scenes. They didn’t know some of the basics of starting your own business.
“In these classes, we continually promote giving back to the community, so when students see people working in the community and everything they’re doing to volunteer and serve, they’re seeing that as a successful practice.”
For more information on Troy Main Street, visit www.troymainstreet.org.