Youth entrepreneurship programs are proving to be very valuable for young business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Detroit Entrepreneurship Institute,Inc. (DEI) is a non-profit) corporation designed to help people learn the skills needed to take an idea or hobby and turn it into a successful business. Recently,the Institute started the Young CEO and Investors Program (YCIP).
The program is an entrepreneurial training program that services youth between the ages of 14 and 21. The majority of youth in the program are African Americans. Each student receives a savings account and a mutual fund account upon completion. A monthly investment club is part of the program.
Program manager Allen Lee,34,advises black youth looking to start businesses to “think big and start small.”
“It's good to have big dreams,” says Lee,“ but learn to manage your limited resources.”
Lee believes that there is a great benefit for children who become members of an entrepreneurship program and says “programs like ours help with professional development.” Time after time,former members of the program call and tell Lee that the Young CEO program not only taught them the in and outs of owning a business but also taught them how to dress,speak,and act in the business world.
“We helped them learn how to be professionals,” says Lee,who urges young entrepreneurs not only to join these programs,but also to finish high school and go on to college. “ You increase your ability to market yourself with diplomas and degrees.”
16-year old twins,Glen and Bruce Proctor are the owners of Twin Sport,a personalized sportswear business. These young entrepreneurs say that entrepreneurship programs such as the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) have been very beneficial to them because “they design courses that teach you how to run your business.”
“They taught us how to draw graphs,take surveys,and keep track of our customer files and receipts,” said Glen Proctor.
32-year-old Abner McWhorter is the publisher and /CEO of Xpression Publishing and OurPC Magazine,the country's only African-American computer and Internet magazine. He began his first business at the age of 11,selling candy at school. McWhorter wanted a pair of Calvin Klein jeans and he knew his mother wouldn't give him the money to buy them so he became what he calls a “sugar dealer” at his elementary school.
At 17,with a small loan from his uncle,he began his own picture framing business that produced $100,000 in sales annually. At 19,McWhorter landed a six-figure art supply contract providing art supplies to city of Detroit,which was renewed for three consecutive years,making him the youngest person to ever hold a major contract with the city of Detroit
This young entrepreneur is a highly respected speaker whose knowledge and entrepreneurial experience has proved to be helpful for both children and adults. In 1996 he started HOPE96,an entrepreneurship program to help young people prepare to start their own businesses.
McWhorter is very supportive of entrepreneurial programs for kids like the Young CEO and Investor Program and Kidpreneurs (a program sponsored by Black Enterprise Magazine) and says,“ Entrepreneurship programs and courses are invaluable because they provide you with the training you need.”