BossUp: Learning outside the classroom at Youth Entrepreneur Academy

The phrase “boss up” is often used to refer to challenging a peer to “step up their game” or to “rise” to the next level. This column provides resources that will hopefully inspire youth to “boss up” and start, operate or grow a business.

Thirteen Baltimore City and Baltimore County youth decided that learning about entrepreneurship, the stock market and 3D printing was more valuable than vacationing on a beach for Spring Break.

The Entrepreneurial Development and Assistance Center (EDAC) at Morgan State University and The Cube Cowork partnered to provide a five-day Youth Entrepreneur Academy (YEA) for youth ages 10-14 over the Baltimore City and Baltimore County designated spring break.

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Courtesy Photo

Tammira Lucas

Both organizers felt it was important to change the trajectory of what youth can do during time away from school. Most public schools don’t include curriculum that provides students with an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship. Having an opportunity like YEA allows youth to explore other career options.

For founders of The Cube Cowork, it was important to not just teach the concept of entrepreneurship, but to teach the mindset of entrepreneurship to our youth.

Each day during the YEA, the participants engaged in several hands-on activities around entrepreneurship, learned how to trade stocks in a simulated stock market game on www.investopedia.com and learned to create products on a 3D printer. At the end of the academy, the participant with the best portfolio won a cash prize of $100. Several of the youth had already come to the experience with entrepreneurship in mind. From having a Youtube channel, to writing to designing clothes, the resources from the five days will help them grow their idea into a business.

“Most of the participating youth had never been exposed to the stock market or 3D printing, and after learning how they can purchase and trade stock to build wealth and make their own products, they were fully engaged in learning more about it beyond the five days,” said Omar Muhammad, director of EDAC.

From marketing strategies to actually launching an online store, the youth learned every aspect of a business. The success of the program was not only because of the organizers but also because of the other partners and volunteers like Maryland InvestEd and local entrepreneurs who came to speak with the youth.

This is not just a onetime opportunity, but both organizers plan to continue to provide similar opportunities throughout the year.

Tammira Lucas is the cofounder of Moms as Entrepreneurs and cofounder of The Cube Cowork. She can be reached at tammiralucas@gmail.com