Challenge

With the economy in relentless decline and no viable end in sight, many of our inner-city youth have joined the working class as what have now been dubbed “bottle boys”. Over the last five years the number of community youth who sell bottled water on busy street corners as a means to earn extra income has steadily increased. This has also led to an increase in complaints against these young entrepreneurs ranging from being too aggressive, to darting unsafely into traffic, and not properly disposing of their trash.

The youth in lower-income areas in Atlanta face multiple barriers that stand in the way of attaining economic opportunities. The lack of soft-skills development opportunities, formal education opportunities, and unstable family environments make it difficult for Atlanta youth to secure employment. Further compounding this issue is a lack of access to capital, geographic constraints, and a lack of entrepreneurial skills that make it difficult for young people to start businesses.

(COVID-19, Stay at home order, local resources are strained- schools closed, summer programs halted, civil unrest, etc.)

 

Objective

Develop and implement a youth entrepreneurship curriculum that provides true engagement in a learn-by-doing, real-world setting.

 

Solution

Develop and implement a three-month (June- August) entrepreneurial skills training program for at-risk youth in Atlanta. The entrepreneurship training, an element of a range of capacity-building and wraparound services offered under the broader I’m A Father F1rst initiative, aimed to strengthen the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for youth participants to successfully start micro-enterprises. The training is designed to contribute to the program goals of positioning youth to be economically self-sustainable, be meaningfully employed, and serve in positive leadership roles in their own communities – while discouraging risky behaviors that may lead to crime and violence.

During the training, youth participants will build key business skills such as market assessment and analysis, marketing and customer service, operations and management, production and quality control, financial management, and soft skills (including communication, creativity, goal orientation, problem-solving, and teamwork).

Create and implement engaging community involvement growth strategies
Empower learners of all ages through skill-building & wealth generating activities
Develop employment and career-building opportunities to sustain purpose-built community initiatives
Implementation

Participants learn and apply business start-up practices and concepts to projects they're passionate about. They build, test, learn, apply - embracing the cycle of experimentation, which is core to entrepreneurship and great training ground for life -- they get comfortable with failing and learning from failure. Working in teams and being supported by a dynamic mix of I’m A Father F1rst mentors, all translates to deeper learning and skill building.

Program Structure
Obtain Permitting for stands
Register program participants
Training
Train participants on Soft Skills (manners and appearance)
Train participants on Safety & Sanitation (social distancing and trash disposal)
Materials
Provide I’m A Father F1rst Tents
T-shirts
PPE, hand sanitizer, and trash bags
Bottled water & fresh fruit
Mentors
Have I’m A Father F1rst mentors supervise participants (set-up, sales, and clean-up)

Benefits of Youth Entrepreneurship

Instills critical thinking skills b
Teaches failure as A viable outcome
Promotes social and emotional well-being
Introduces collaboration as a crucial skill
Fosters confidence and creativity
Engages, empowers, and encourages