Youth-focused Entrepreneurship Project Launched in the Inland Empire

Youth-focused Entrepreneurship Project Launched in the Inland Empire

Riverside

In November, the Supermodel Society, a faith-based mentorship focused organization, launched the Networked Economic Expansion Team (NEET). 

NEET is an initiative focused on fostering entrepreneurial literacy and competency in culturally marginalized youth. The program is focused on teens in grades 9 through 12.

“The widening racial wealth gap is a foremost issue of catastrophic economic proportions, and private business ownership is a proven pathway to narrowing that gap,” explained Dr. JerMara Davis-Welch, Founder of the Supermodel Society.

“Those who are impacted the most by racial wealth inequality in this country are African Americans and Latinos. That said,” she added, “equipping our young people from those communities with the skill sets on how to start, run, and maintain thriving business enterprises will no doubt position them for greater opportunities for economic success—for themselves as well as for future generations.”

NEET held its first session on Sunday, November 18, at the Riverside Public Library. During the session, participants were introduced to social entrepreneurship and were able to meet and hear guest speaker, Voice Media Ventures founder and second-generation publisher of the VOICE and Black Voice News, Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds.

Brown-Hinds gave a powerful and inspiring talk about her entrepreneurial journey. She is also the founder of Mapping Black California, a geospatial technology community mapping and STE[A]M initiative that has a goal of building a “smart and connected” African-American community in California.

On Sunday, December 2, NEET participants gathered for their second session at the Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church. During this session, guest speaker and local entrepreneur, Darrell Peeden encouraged attendees to “focus on your passion and work on something you believe in.” 

Peeden is a co-founder, board member, and executive of Sigma Beta Xi, a social enterprise focused on closing the academic achievement gaps in the Inland Empire. He stressed to the attendees the importance of testing their ideas and being patient, “. . . timing is everything,” he noted. 

During the session participants were also tasked to begin developing a Business Model Canvas that addresses a particular social issue. On Sunday, December 9, participants will have the opportunity to present a draft of their business model. For more information about Campaign NEET, contact Dr. Davis-Welch at jermara@supermodelsociety.org.

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