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Agency Launches Nationwide Youth Entrepreneurship Program to Address High Black Youth Unemployment

Product vendors include Crochet Kufi Hats, Dolls, Braclets by AfriCreations.com, Ujamaa Discount Cards offered by IBSA, Afrocentric greeting/kwanzaa cards offered by Black-Gifts.com, Web packages offered by Kansas Small Business Promotions and a host of other products and services.


Topeka, KS (PRWEB) May 24, 2005 -- The IBSA, Inc. is going to show African American teens how to be entrepreneurs, and put legitimately earned cash in their pockets.

Learning Business Principles
IBSA’s entrepreneurial program teaches kids between 12 and 15 years old the principles of commissioned, residual and leveraged income. Throughout the years, as many as 20 kids have been in the program at a time. Paid staffers and volunteers instruct the teens by having them sell raffle tickets for things like televisions and grocery shopping sprees, at festivals and fireworks events. The kids also sell quality greeting cards and calendars during the holiday season.

“They earn a commission of fifty-cents on each dollar’s worth of raffle tickets sold,” said Grays. “The rest comes back into our general fund.”

Teens can buy the high-quality cards for six dollars and sell them for ten, or if they don’t have the capital investment, they can take orders. The program teaches the kids about money, such as calculating commissions and determining what the organization owes them. In addition, the kids learn communication techniques.

“These are mini sales presentations,” said Grays. “So we want them saying ‘Yes sir’ or ‘Excuse me ma’am’—words they don’t normally use each day.”

Another very important lesson the program teaches is follow up. The kids have to send a thank you letter to customers who have purchased products from them. “This teaches them basic courtesy as well as the concept of follow up,” Grays said.

Thinking Like an Entrepreneur
IBSA hosts group settings where they describe the opportunity, and make sure they educate the teens on sales and the business side. Grays tries to keep the kids thinking. When they set up a booth at a Juneteenth event, which drew 80,000 people to Soldier Park, Grays asked his teen entrepreneurs how they would turn that large group into an opportunity to make money.

“I don’t want them to see large-scale events as a place where they go and buy things,” Grays said. “I want them to see it as an opportunity. They should be able to see a lawn full of leaves and say, ‘Excuse me ma’am would you be interested in someone raking those leaves for you?,’ so they can see opportunity, rather than watch all their peers migrate to McDonald’s or Wendy’s for jobs.”

Some of the kids make $100 a week by selling $200 worth of greeting cards. “They come home with smiles on their faces and money in their hands,” said Grays. One teen made $213 in one weekend on the raffle. Others have made $400 to $500 selling greeting cards. Some teens even have said they made more money working one weekend than working all summer at a fast food restaurant.

“These kids take these skills into later life,” Grays said. “Our top seller in 1995 just graduated from Kansas State University.”

Grays said his program gets the kids to understand the value of money and that if you work you get paid.

In order to facilitate the financial needs of youth who don't receive allowances or are to young to get a regular job (even fast-food), IBSA has devised several entrepreneurial activities and opportunities to allow enterprising young people an opportunity to earn some legitimate money. The agency have not re-invented the wheel, but looked at what works across a variety of programs and have chosen those elements they feel are critical for Black youth to understand, plus they provide products and services by our agency and business affiliates for them to sell for-profit.

Article Originally posted on prweb.com

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