Youth mentored in business

The students were part of a group of young business women and men practicing the art of owning and operating a successful company.

There were hair braiders, graphic artists, cosmetologists, t-shirt and sweatshirt printers, as well as website designers and jewelry makers amongst the youth entrepreneur participants.

Many of the students at the Cobo Center Trade Fair had previously attended the national Youth Entrepreneur Conference in Milwaukee.

The two events were part of a training process for students to learn how to form a corporation, create a business plan and operate a business, through New Detroit's Youth Entrepreneur & Stock Investors' Initiative. The students' involvement was made possible by New Detroit with a grant from the Skillman Foundation.

Detroit-area students, at least 13 years old and currently enrolled in school-sponsored or non-school entrepreneur or investment classes, or operating a business are qualified to join New Detroit's Youth Entrepreneur program. While in the program students learn business and investment strategies from adult business owners or mentors. The mentors, locally based and have been in business for at least three years, sign on to share their resources and experiences with the students, with a goal of preparing the students to be savvy business owners in the future.

In addition to the experiences the adult mentors bring, they help students build stock portfolios, by way of a skill-building game.

The Youth Entrepreneur Program uses a team concept, pairing fur students and four parent advisors with one business mentor and one investment mentor. At least four times a year, the teams gather to discuss related issues and develop plans for success. Meetings take place at venues such as the chamber of commerce, economic or optimist clubs.

Students also sign on for a two-year commitment. Their discussion topics include determining the status of a stock portfolio; how to develop an effective business network; and how changes in technology, environment or political arena impacts business and investments.

Each year during the annual summit, all teams come together to celebrate each other's successes. The hear from lead professionals of the field, compete for shares in a real Fortune 500 company, highlight their products and services through displays and exhibits, and receive awards for their accomplishments.

New Detroit's Youth Entrepreneur Program helps "young people develop personal relationships from within their community". There are currently 60 students and 30 mentors in the program.