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student entrepreneurs

Turning Students Into Entrepreneurs: Local Georgia-Pacific Program Becomes Model for the Nation

Updated Fri December 5, 2014

student entrepreneurs

JaKathryn Ross, Youth Entrepreneurs® Georgia Executive Director presents key learnings about the value of hands-on training and teaching entrepreneurship to foster success in today’s youth.

Queen White started her own business, selling bath teas. Zicuria Ussery was promoted to shift leader at her part-time job. Both are examples of how the Youth Entrepreneurs® Georgia program, launched by GP, equips high school students with the tools to think like entrepreneurs and make positive impact on their communities.

All three were high school students in at-risk communities who had never dreamed of making such a big impact on their communities. But through the GP funded Youth Entrepreneurs® Georgia (YEGeorgia) program, they and 1,500+ other students have developed the skills to become creative thinkers and entrepreneurs. They are contributing to the region’s economy and inspiring others through their new successes.

Recently, GP’s JaKathryn Ross, Executive Director of YEGeorgia presented key learnings from the program at two national youth-focused conferences: the Council for Economic Education (CEE) and the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) conference. CEE’s commitment to helping teachers teach economics, and NBCDI’s continued work to improve the lives of African-American children and families, made both events ideal forums to advance the discussion about what it takes to facilitate economic empowerment for the next generation. 

During both conferences, JaKathryn underscored the value of hands-on training and practical business knowledge – both of which have led to success with the YEGeorgia program. Other key factors include building character and confidence in students by showing them what’s possible. Students and their communities stand to benefit greatly from investing in programs like this.

“The purpose of our annual conference is to bring together leaders in education, business, child welfare and health around our shared vision and goal of supporting Black children and their families,” said Tobeka Green, President and CEO of NBCDI. 

“Entrepreneurship education teaches us a lot of things,” says another YEGeorgia alumnus, Samuel Yenn Batah. “I think the most valuable one is being an advocate, in order that we may go back into the community and be benevolent, because it’s always good to give back.”

YEG is one of those programs that I can literally say changes lives,” states  YEGeorgia alumnus and Howard University student, Akinbola Richardson.  “Without them (YEGeorgia) I wouldn’t have had the means to stay here (Howard University).  My business is how I’m paying for my tuition and my housing.  YEG has put me through college, changed my life, given me a medium at a young age to express my thoughts and my dreams and my passions without any fear, I mean that’s life changing…that’s priceless!”


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