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Durham Teenagers Get Head Start On Success With Entrepreneur Camp

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DURHAM — Tomorrow's business leaders and entrepreneurs are coming straight from your neighborhood. Training starts early at a special summer camp in Durham.

Durham teenagers are building their own Web sites. In the future, they hope to build their own businesses. Eighty campers from first grade to high school spend nine weeks at Kid and Teen Entrepreneurs Summer Camp.

"In this global economy, there's a lot of downsizing going on," says camp owner Sonya Blackmon. "There are some other things in corporate America going on so kids need to know they have alternatives."

The alternative is self-sufficiency.

"We are learning how to be better than our competition really and think of new things for our businesses," says camper Jocelyn Ellis.

Classroom work is an important part of becoming an entrepreneur. Some campers start as young as six years old. Older campers even learn how to make commercials and sales pitches. Manufacturing is learned from the inside out.

"We manufacture parts to become a product in your home," says camper James Roberson.

Many of the young people are children of entrepreneurs. They hope the training will give them a head start in the business world.

"Me and a friend want to own our own clothing store, a chain of clothing stores one day," says camper Andre Henry. "We want money when we grow up."

Camp costs anywhere $130 to $150 a week. Blackmon says school systems should offer similar courses. She hopes her idea will eventually be worthy enough to be franchised.