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EDC's 'KidPreneur Day' Empowers Rising Stars of Tomorrow

 

(EDC President & CEO Jim Coleman (c) with Miss Maryland World Tarese Taylor; Entrepreneur Gabrielle Jordan, President & CEO of D.C. Sweet Potato Cakes, April Richardson;  SunTrust Bank Team; Operation HOPE, Inc. Team; EDC Team and 100 'KidPreneurs' at EDC's 'KidPreneur Day')Largo, MD, August 4, 2016 - Yesterday, more than 100 young entrepreneurs were given the unique opportunity to start or build their businesses at the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation's (EDC) first annual 'KidPreneur Day'. This event was hosted in partnership with Operation HOPE, Inc.; a global leader in financial literacy. Participants, ranging in age from nine years old to twelve years old were treated to a full day of pivotal information that they can use to make their young businesses flourish and to generate wealth for them and their families.

"I was twelve years old when my father made me the CEO of Coleman Crest, our family farm," said EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman. "The skills and experience that I gained at that age have made me the CEO that I am today. It is never too early to start your future, as these young people are demonstrating today. We are creating the next Mark Zuckerbergs and Milt Petersons of the world right here in Prince George's County. It is our responsibility to give our kids a leg up on their future!"

Mr. Coleman launched this one-of-a-kind initiative after meeting with young County entrepreneurs such as ten year old Ava Valentine and twelve year old Gabrielle Williams, whom he deputized as Co-Chairs of 'KidPreneur Day.' Ava is an aspiring entrepreneur who is planning to be the CEO of her own fashion design company. Gabrielle is the President of Glorious Pastries by Gabrielle, and attended one of the EDC's 'Activate Prosperity Small Business and Job Seekers Summits earlier this year. As the only young person in a crowd of adults, Gabrielle stood out because of her determination to grow her business and to become a celebrity.

"I'm glad to be a part of KidPreneur Day. Today has been great because now I am thinking about whether I want to keep my baking my pastries at home or opening a bakery," said Miss Williams. "We have also learned a lot about financing today, which is an important part of my decision-making process. I have a lot more confidence that my business will succeed and I have made a lot of new friends."

Today, participants were given the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of business, develop their own business plans, develop a strong financial plan to launch their business, create their own business cards, and learn how to pitch their business through the teachers from Operation HOPE, Inc. The Operation Hope 'Business in a Box Entrepreneur Training Program' is a program designed to help young entrepreneurs turn their ideas and dreams of starting a new business into reality.

"I am glad that Operation HOPE had the opportunity to impact our youth to gear them towards success, create jobs, and show aspirations to be their best. The kids I have met are smart, excited and several of the entrepreneurs are already doing great things," said Dionne Waldron, Vice President of North Region, Operation HOPE. "We are happy about this great partnership with the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation and excited to be able to interject our work into their 'KidPreneur' program."

The day was filled with information and fun from a variety of business experts. Sixteen year old entrepreneur, best-selling author and motivational speaker Gabrielle Jordan also spoke to the youth about how she began her jewelry business, Jewelz of Jordan when she was nine years old. She encouraged the KidPreneurs to have a vision and to dream big.

"Dare to dream big and don't let fear stop you from achieving your dreams," said Jordan. "Dreaming about your ideas, places you want to go, and people you want to meet is a process that can be frightening sometimes. But if you plan to succeed, you can push through any feat you have to achieve your dreams."

The children were extremely excited about the information and activities they participated in during the day. During the breakout sessions, several of the youth commented on how happy they were that someone was taking an interest in their futures.

"My parents knew that I was interested in starting my own business and so they brought me to 'KidPreneur Day' to learn more about how to do business," said 10 year old entrepreneur Audre Dabney, owner of Car Realtor, a business researches and selects the perfect car for a buyer, without the stress associated with car shopping. "I'm glad I came here today. It makes me feel like I am important and that my thoughts can be shared without criticism. Someone is listening to our ideas and willing to help us."

Eleven year old Morgan Lytle, President of Morgan Camille Skincare shared with her fellow 'KidPreneurs' why she started her company.

"I started my company because a lot of people in my family have skin conditions and I wanted to help them. So I did some research and my products worked," said Lytle. "I am currently in the process of developing new butters and oils and even enlist my friends to help. I want to take my business international!"

Today's 'KidPreneur Day' was the first of an annual event to highlight and empower the rising stars of tomorrow and was graciously sponsored by SunTrust Bank, Infinity Technology, Operation HOPE, Inc., Lyon Bakery, D.C. Sweet Potato Cakes, Costco, ExCel Youth Mentoring Institute, Safeway, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Mrs. K's Motel and Restaurant , PEPCO, and Ledo's Pizza. All of these local businesses demonstrated their commitment to creating great community leaders at an early age.

"SunTrust's whole commitment is in providing financial stability in families; and it goes without saying that our families start with our children, and our children are a part of our neighborhoods, our counties, our cities and our towns," said Muriel Garr, Vice President, SunTrust Bank Greater Washington. "As we look at opportunities to partner and create a win/win for all, we are glad to be a partner with the Economic Development Corporation and Operation HOPE, as it aligns with the collective to bring together for-profit, non-profit and government. Today's KidPreneur program is showing these children the power of working together and letting them know that they are in control of their own destiny."

Infinity Technology in McLean, Virginia was also very impressed with 'KidPreneur Day'.

"We are very honored to be able to participate in 'KidPreneur Day', and I am overwhelmed at the participation, organization and energy of the children who are participating in this," said Richard J. Gordon, Chief Information Officer & Vice President of Infinity Technology. "What I see are future leaders, movers and shakers in front of me and I am delighted to be a part of it."

April Richardson, President and CEO of D.C. Sweet Potato Cakes also spoke with the participants about how her business took off because she believed in herself and surrounded herself with people who could make a difference in her business.

The day was concluded with words of congratulations and encouragement from Prince George's County native Tarese Taylor, 2016 Miss Maryland World, a demonstration from NASA's Heliophysics Science Division and a graduation ceremony for the participants.

For more information about how to start or grow your business, contact Kisha Logan, EDC Small Business Services Manager at 301-583-4650 or kvlogan@co.pg.md.us.