Author Archives: yepintern

Ryan Poortinga/San Diego Sky Tours

Category : Success Stories

Ryan was a recent graduate from San Diego State University who was having a hard time finding a job in his field. One day while browsing the Craigslist website for jobs, he came across an advertisement for our YEP program and decided to enroll and take the business training. After completing the training, he wrote a business plan for an aerial tours business that he and his best friend, a licensed pilot, had come up with and entered it into the YEP business plan competition. The business plan was well developed and Ryan was selected as one of the winners of the YEP business plan competition. After the competition, Ryan met with professional business advisors at the CITD and received help with further developing his business idea. After a few business counseling sessions, Ryan launched his business, San Diego Sky Tours, and is currently doing well enough to hire his company’s first employee.

When asked how YEP played a part in helping him launch his business, Ryan said “The online business training helped me bridge the gap between the business management concepts and theory I learned at SDSU, and how small businesses actually get started.”

In November 2011, Ryan was visited at his business by Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Marie Johns, during a tour promoting youth entrepreneurship. That visit and subsequent national press release by the SBA led to an article in the Washington Post.


Candace & Steven Gray/Mr. C’s Barber Shop & Salon

Category : Success Stories

Candace and Steven Gray found YEP while searching online for local small business assistance. They had an idea for an entertainment center that would offer networked console (Xbox, Playstation, etc.) and PC gaming stations so group oriented games could be played in real time, but were unsure how to get a business started. They enrolled in YEP, completed the online business training, submitted a business plan to the YEP Business Plan Competition, and were selected as one of the winners. After winning the competition, Candace and Steven fully intended to pursue their entertainment center business, but were presented with an opportunity to take over ownership of a local barber shop named Mister C’s. They saw an opportunity to not just continue running this business, which has been around for over 40 years, but take it to the next level. Under their ownership, the shop was updated to give it a more modern look and business has been steadily growing over the last year. They also give back to their community by providing free haircuts to local youth in group homes and offering low-cost haircuts to military personnel. When asked how participating in YEP helped them with their entrepreneurial endeavor, Candace said “YEP was extremely helpful in providing information on how to start and run a business.  Although our current business was already established, as new owners we had to take steps to help the business grow”. She continued, “The program has taught us the importance of advertising for instance, and how to write a solid business plan.  All of the online training was an excellent educational tool that has prepared my husband and me to go forward with another business venture we hope to launch in the near future.  YEP has given us the tools necessary to be successful entrepreneurs.”

Mister C’s Barbershop and Salon is located at 5839 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92114 and can be reached at (619) 264-6728.


Erica Calvert/Airshine Music

Category : Success Stories

Erica Calvert owns Airshine Music, a business that provides private music lessons for children and adults in San Diego County. For as long as she can remember, Erica has always had a passion for teaching. As a kid, she would always play the teacher “role” and later, while in college, she began to provide private piano lessons with a mobile teaching service. After graduating from college, she took a position as a fundraiser with a local jazz radio station where she began to learn about the business side of music. Inspired by her new knowledge of business and her continued passion for teaching, Erica decided to give entrepreneurship a try when she came across the YEP program. After completing the online business training, Erica submitted a business plan to the YEP Business Plan Competition to test the feasibility of her idea and get feedback from the professional business advisors that review the plans for the competition.

To Erica’s surprise, she was selected as one of the winners of the competition and was awarded a prize package of resources and services to help her move her business idea forward. After a couple of sessions with a Center for International Trade Development (CITD) business advisor, she officially launched her business which she describes as a service that, “helps San Diegans avoid musical boredom and burnout by creating a place for students and teachers to create dynamic relationships that foster meaningful musical education and lifelong learning.”

When asked how YEP helped her with her business, Erica said, “YEP helped put my business on the map. The follow-up from the CITD counselors is one of the forces that keep me moving forward.”