PORTLAND — “Young people have to be prepared to run the world.”
With that, Samuel Brooks, president of the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, neatly — and evangelically — sums up why his organization this month launches its new Youth Business Academy.
The academy, which will sponsor 10-15 students in its first year, is the culmination of OAME’s efforts to train the next generation of entrepreneurs. Four years ago, the group started its annual August Youth Entrepreneurship Conference and it now draws about 80 participants.
The academy will focus on at-risk, low-income youths in grades 8-12 and give them hands-on training on how to start and run a business, along with the basics, such as marketing, accounting and leadership. Students will staff OAME’s onsite retail store, develop a business plan and intern at local businesses. The program will be coordinated by Antonio Paez, OAME’s director of entrepreneurship, with help from an AmeriCorp volunteer, and be conducted at OAME’s headquarters on North Vancouver Avenue in Portland.
As Brooks says, “Youths are going run the world, whether you like it or not.” They might as well be prepared for it.
— Robin Doussard
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