NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Business

February 4, 2008

Young entrepreneurs urged to have a vision

NEWBURYPORT — One student has an idea to create a business that would rent college textbooks to students one semester at a time; another will be opening an extreme sports gym, while still another teen is delving into the world of electronic commerce.

The future of Newburyport is in the hands of Newburyport High School seniors enrolled in the Newburyport Area Industrial Development Foundation entrepreneurship class taught by Northern Essex Community College professor Bill Zannini.

The past and future met Friday in a rare encounter with the founders of NAID, including Mike Strem of Strem Chemicals, Peter Morse, retired president of Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, Daily News columnist Bill Plante and Page Insurance owner Bill Page.

The young entrepreneurs listened eagerly as the men recounted their past business experience and what it took to create the Newburyport Industrial Park.

"It is important to have a vision," Bob Miller, current president of the Newburyport Education Business Coalition, said. "These men didn't know it would create a pot of money or a wonderful city, all they knew was they had to improve the city and the hand they were dealt."

The latest in programming offered by the Newburyport Education Business Coalition, the entrepreneurship class offers high school students college credit.

Paid for by a large donation from NAID to the NEBC, the class challenges students to think with an entrepreneurial mind-set and create a viable business plan that will serve as the final exam.

Strem told of his struggle to find something he liked and wanted to do with his life as a history major in Pittsburgh. Strem eventually got into chemistry and opened his own business in Danvers before moving to Newburyport.

"At some point in your life you need to think about what you're good at," Strem said. "If you are not good at it, you will not be happy."

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