If you missed out on finding a summer job or you’re just too young to get hired by your favorite mall store or food outlet, there are other money-making options available.

One of the best is going into business for yourself. Becoming an entrepreneur takes a plan, creativity, and perhaps just a little bit of money. And finding a business is not necessarily difficult. The first thing you should do is look at yourself. Do you have a talent or skill that people would pay you for–can you draw, knit, design, or are you a whiz at mowing lawns? Do you love kids or animals?

If so, one of these talents could be the basis for your summer business. There are a number of ways to get yourself prepared. Let’s say you decide to start a babysitting service for example. A good selling point would be to advertise that you are trained and certified, and this instruction is available through the Beach Cities Health District in Manhattan Beach.

The program is called Safe Sitter and is open to youth ages 11 to 16. Sessions will be held May 21 and 28 or June 11 and 18 at the AdventurePlex in Manhattan Beach, and the cost is $50 for non-residents and $5 for residents.

Students learn skills such as rescue, child safety, and behavior management. Participants must attend both classes to receive the Safe Sitter certification. AdventurePlex is located at 1701 Marine Ave., Manhattan Beach or contact them at (310) 546-7708.

The Red Cross also offers a do-it-yourself babysitting training course. Just go to www.staywell.com and type babysitting into the search field and the kit will come up. The cost is $14.95, and it comes with a training DVD, instruction booklet, and certificate.

Older youth who want free training on how to start a business can sign up for the 2008 Buzz on Biz Academy sponsored by the El Camino College Small Business Development Center. The 10-session program, which begins June 21, gives young people ages 14 to 27 theory and practical training in how to start and operate a part-time business.

Participants can participate in business plan and web site development contests, mentoring, job shadowing and more. The free program has a limited number of spaces, and is open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Interested individuals must submit an application, which is available at www.buzzonbiz.org, and then attend an orientation May 31 at the El Camino College Business

Training Center in Hawthorne. Classes will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the same location. For information, call (310) 973-3177.

Youth in sixth through 12th grades, as well as exceptional fifth graders and recent high school graduates, can participate in a seven-week program sponsored by the Academy of Business Leadership (ABL) that introduces them to entrepreneurship and the business world.

The ABL Summer Institute begins with an orientation June 28, and the deadline is May 30 to
apply. The program targets socio-economically disadvantaged students but is open to anyone who loves learning and is interested in business.

There are 350 slots available, and students interested in participating must submit an application-available at www.goabl.org or by calling (626) 302-4428.

To qualify for one of the tuition-free spots (there is a $100 commitment fee but waivers are available), students must write two essays including one that outlines why ABL should select them for the institute. They must also obtain a teacher recommendation and include a copy of the front page of their parents’ tax return.

During the program–which will be held at campuses around the area including USC, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and Santa Monica College–students will visit offices of local Fortune 500 companies, be taught by professors from universities such as UCLA and Harvard, and receive mentoring from MBA students from those same schools.

At the end of the institute, students will participate in a business plan competition presenting their ideas to venture capitalists and corporate executives. They will also have the opportunity to compete in a stock market contest, where they will manage a fictitious portfolio with the help of business experts.

If you cannot attend a class or get into a program, the Small Business Administration offers free, online information that can provide some basic start-up information. Visit the web site to get details:

http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/plan/getready/serv_sbplanner_stg….
There is also an SBA/Mind Your Own Business Web site specifically aimed at young people. It can be accessed at www.sba.gov/teens/index.html.

Those who want to learn straight from the book, can get a copy of The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Running A Business, co-authored by Steve Marriotti, founder of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

And finally, those juniors and seniors in high school who want to take their businesses to a new level should consider submitting a request to the Black Business Expo, which this year will reserve eight spaces for budding entrepreneurs to display and sell their wares.

The Expo is Sept. 5 to 7 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and interested individuals should send a 150-word statement to info@blackexpo.com, describing what your business is, and why you want to be a part of the Expo. Also include your name, address, phone nubmer, and grade in school.

For additional information, visit www.blackbusinessexpo.com.