📷Brother and sister Jacilla and James Henderson work on their pitch board with their mother, Jessica Henderson, at The Business Center’s Youth & Money Summer Enrichment Entrepreneurship Programs open house. Credit: Monica Peters
By Monica Peters
The Business Center (TBC) held its Youth & Money Summer Enrichment Entrepreneurship Programs open house on Wednesday at the Lovett Memorial Library in Mt. Airy. Kids, parents and mentors showed up, rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
Couldn’t attend the open house? No worries. There is still time. To enroll your children in The Business Center’s summer youth programs, parents can contact the center at 215-247-2473 or email [email protected].
The summer youth programs which caters to future entrepreneurs takes place June through August. The program helps kids seven to 17 write business plans, teaches them how to invest, build their own website and more—all things that business center co-founder and executive director Pamela Rich-Wheeler feel are important.
“Once a youth can start asking for money, then they need to learn how to make money,” said Rich-Wheeler.
Some of the things that participants will learn in the summer program is how to write a pitch, wealth building and on the technology end–coding and practical design, word press and essential business tools.
“The impact it has is that it allows youth to be innovative thinkers. This program caters to future entrepreneurs,” she said of the programs. They also encourage youth to attend college and historically Black universities.
Rich-Wheeler also noted one of the program participants went on to start their own dog walking business that grew into a full-time operation.
One of the youngest attendees at the open house was 10-year-old Cameron Tillman who described the experience as “fun.” Tillman was a participant in the youth program a few years prior. He wants to go into the fields of math or science.
Some alumni use their experience to go a different path.
Singer Bobby Hill, who sang for the Pope during his 2015 papal visit to Philadelphia, is also an alumnus of the program. Hill was not present during the open house, but it was noted that he uses the program on his resume as one of his proud accomplishments.
Alumni of the program often return and become instructors.
Akintunde Sogo, now a Cornell University student, is one of those persons. He is now the head instructor for the youth program and special projects coordinator.
For most of the youth at the open house, this was their first time interacting with The Business Center and wanted to learn more about their youth programs.
Although most of the open house attendees were newbies, they jumped in ready for the task assigned—a shark tank competition.
The two groups had to come up with an idea and create a pitch board in 30 minutes.
One group’s pitch aimed to tackle Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in youth, but with their own spin on the acronym (Arrangements Dynamic Helping Device). The device is a box that has all the class necessities a youth with ADHD may need in one place such as their math, music and literacy lessons.
The other group addressed gun violence with their G-Figuration pitch. G-Figuration would require fingerprint of the registered owner of a gun in order for it to fire.
The judges, Akintunde Sogo and Nailah Wheeler, also a head instructor at the youth program, did a quick google search. A fingerprint activated gun is already being explored on the market.
The judges were impressed with with groups pitches.
Group ADHD won the competition since their idea was an original concept that had not already been explored.
Each team member from the winning group won a Wawa gift card.
For more information or to enroll your child in the Youth & Money Summer Enrichment Entrepreneurship Programs, contact Pamela Rich-Wheeler, Executive Director of The Business Center at 215-247-2473. Visit the center online at thebizctr.com or email [email protected].
Photos: Credit: Monica Peters