YEA! students learn lessons from local entrepreneur

Published 11:45 pm Friday, December 19, 2014

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LAPLACE — Students from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) of the River Region Chamber of Commerce visited the Subway inside LaPlace’s Walmart Dec. 10 for a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run a successful business franchise.

Owner Raj Pannu shared her own entrepreneurial success story, detailing the business idea, what challenges were faced and what skills were needed to keep the business running.

Organizers said the field trip taught the students the importance of one unique type of business operation and structure.

Pannu and her husband bought their first Subway restaurant 20 years ago. They now own eight Subways, and Pannu is the chair of the New Orleans Subway Franchise Advertising Fund.

This is her third year hosting a field trip for YEA! students.

“My job goes beyond just being a business owner,” Pannu said. “I have found myself behind the counter putting on a hair net many times.”

Pannu said a business owner’s work takes many forms and can often be challenging.  

 “It is not always easy, but in 20 years I have not regretted it once,” she said. “You have to always remember to never give up.”

The YEA! program teaches students from all walks of life how to make a job, not just take a job.

In addition to lessons learned inside the classroom, YEA! introduces students to all areas of business through field trips, guest lectures and introductions to business mentors and community leaders.