Conference teaches girls about entrepreneurship

8th Annual "It's Her Business" Conference

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Approximately 100 local high school girls were attending a conference Friday to learn how to run a business.

The 8th Annual Teen Entrepreneurship Conference "It's Her Business" was held at the University of North Florida on Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

It's a one-day conference for girls ages 15-18 enrolled in high school in Duval, Clay, and St. Johns Counties.  It's designed to encourage financial literacy and help girls learn about starting businesses and managing personal finances through interactive games and hands-on activities.

"Here at the Small Business Development Center, we help our clients start and grow businesses so it's a natural progression for young ladies interested in one day starting their business to come and visit us and here's an outlet for them," said Marice Hague, Community Outreach Director at UNF's Small Business Center.

Local business women also attend the conference as facilitators and mentors to share their ideas and experiences with the girls.

"All kinds of business leaders from the community that are really closely networked and we all worked together to make sure these young ladies are inspired to pursue their dreams," said Lauren Little, owner of two Edible Arrangements franchises in Jacksonville.  She was participating in the conference for the third year in a row.

"They don't really teach that kind of stuff in school.  I mean you have your economics class in school and you learn how to budget but you don't learn how to run a business," said Katie Luvisi, who planned to attend the conference.

Approximately 800 young women have gone through the conference in the past eight years.  Many even find out what career they want to pursue as a result.

"There was a part where we actually got to break down our salary and based upon the career that we chose and my career actually had a lot of money involved and it would definitely have me financially stable when I decided to graduate from college and everything," said Loreal Butler, a conference graduate.

Butler is on her way to Florida State University where she hopes to pursue a law degree.  She says she figured out her career path after attending the conference.

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