LIMA — A group of students prone to daydreaming of one day being their own boss received encouragement from local business owners during a field trip on Friday.
The West Central Learning Academy brought its entrepreneurship class to The Central District and Makerspace for a field trip on Friday to get a firsthand perspective of the development process it takes to become a successful business owner. The students heard from local entrepreneurs in different stages of business development and the role local mentors could play in helping them achieve their dreams before being given a tour of the Makerspace building.
“The goal of these types of tours is to show and encourage local students, who are close to graduating, the many opportunities in the Lima area,” The Central Manufacturing Company manager Linwood White said. “There are many opportunities to stay in Lima and start your own business or work for a local small business while you learn and master skills toward your next step after graduating.”
Cage Design Studios owner Frank Cage shared his background that resonated with the students as he told a story that most of the kids could relate to.
“Entrepreneurship to me isn’t something you do — it’s a superpower,” Cage said.
Cage recalled growing up in a “fairly good housing situation” and not getting a say in much of anything growing up. Despite not being empowered to take part in decision-making discussions as a child, he never stopped making those decisions in his mind.
“I will completely have a conversation with you on engagement — but I’m all the way on the moon — and you don’t even know. I ended up perfecting that superpower to take a situation that I don’t like and turn it into something else. That’s what my business is all about.”
Legacy Property Solutions owner Devin Muniz opened his discussion by asking WCLA students if they feel like they conform to a traditional school or to do the same thing all the time.
For those who raised their hand in acknowledging that feel they do not do well with structured school programs or having people talking to them all the time, Muniz said they are the prime candidates for business ownership.
“I know because I went to an alternative high school and even that was too much structure for me. I felt like I was in a box ... So entrepreneurship was what changed my whole life. I realized like I don’t have to. I don’t have to structure a nine to five job. I don’t have to do what everybody else is doing.”
The experience hit home with the WCLA students as they listened and asked questions about how to get started.
Sophomore Ahri Seccession said she gained a lot from the trip and felt she has a lot in common with Cage.
“It was exciting getting to hear how these guys started, and being able to ask questions and get pointers is invaluable,” Seccession said. “I am going to talk more with Frank Cage because a lot of things I want to do he already has done. I’m hoping he can be like my mentor.”