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PROGRAMS

INNOVATIVE EDUCATION & ENTREPRENEURIAL EXCELLENCE

We are more than just a program, we are a supportive community of changemakers who are committed to fueling dreams. Our innovative bootcamps, immersive national partner programs, and foundational experiences, including internships and pitch competitions, provide a unique pathway for Black youth ages 14 to 24 to build a future in business and innovation.

Our tuition-free programs use a nationally-recognized curriculum designed by Black leaders that cultivates an entrepreneurial mindset, embracing innovation, authentic leadership, and proactive problem-solving across all career paths. 

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As catalysts we connect young Black people to entrepreneurial education and experiences that ignite their unrealized possibilities. Beginning with the IDEATE stage, where creativity is ignited in a boot camp setting, our students progress to the ACTIVATE stage, transforming ideas into actionable plans. Finally, in the ACCELERATE stage, they catapult their projects to success, leaving a lasting impact on their communities.

IDEATE

Our introductory bootcamp offers the opportunity to jump-start business and leadership training. Teens foster genuine connections with fellow forward- thinkers and industry leaders in a safe and welcoming environment where imagination has no limits.

 

Over 10 weeks, teens will be empowered to explore their interests in business and problem-solving through our best-in-practice curriculum. Learning methods include guest speakers, mentors, and hands-on experiences with subject matter experts to support students in further developing their businesses.

PROGRAM DETAILS

Fall 2024 Dates to be Announced

Workshops will take place online Tuesdays and Thursdays evenings

Field trips will occur 2 Saturdays each month

Lunch and Transportation costs will be covered for all in-person workshops

Location: Hybrid

Program Eligibility: Young Motivated and Driven Black Teens 14-18 

IN 11 WEEKS STUDENTS WILL:

  • Explore the difference between an idea and an opportunity.

  • Learn what makes an opportunity feasible or viable.

  • Discover how to select the best business model for your idea.

  • Learn how to determine market fit

  • Learn to pitch your idea to potential investors.

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Pitch Black

 After completing bootcamps with The Gray Matter Experience, our young Black change agents ages 14 to 18 can bring what they’ve learned to Pitch Black, our signature event for pitching business ideas rooted in community and social impact. This unrivaled opportunity unlocks our teens’ limitless potential to disrupt the status quo and be catalysts for change. It propels them toward seed funding and pro bono resources for their business, additional leadership opportunities, and positive change in their communities.

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Are you a young visionary, 18-24, with a side hustle that you want to grow into a sustainable business? We've got the solution for you!

Hustle Hacks is an interactive, 8-week virtual cohort program tailored specifically for business owners aged 18 to 24. Our mission is simple: to provide you with the people, tools, and funding needed to turn your side hustle into a thriving venture.

OUR PROGRAMS HAVE BENEFITS THAT EXTEND BEYOND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Personal Development

Our programs not only enhance entrepreneurial skills but also cultivate resilience, adaptability, and effective communication - equipping individuals with the tools necessary to navigate life's challenges and pursue personal growth with confidence.

Networking

Our programs offer workshops and networking events tailored to enhance communication, relationship-building, and professional networking capabilities. Sessions often include icebreakers, group discussions, and role-playing exercises designed to help individuals overcome social barriers, initiate conversations, and establish meaningful connections.

Future Careers

Entrepreneurship programs foster creativity, innovation, and a proactive mindset - qualities highly sought after by employers in today's competitive job market. The networking opportunities and mentorship provided through our programs can open doors to internships, job placements, and even entrepreneurial ventures, laying a strong foundation for long-term career success.

College Applications

Participating in an entrepreneurship program in high school significantly enhances college applications by showcasing a student's initiative, creativity, and leadership potential. Our programs offer hands-on experience in business development, fostering skills like problem-solving, teamwork, and strategic thinking.

WHAT OUR INNOVATORS ARE SAYING

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MCKAYLA CARRUTHERS

Cohort 2 Alumni

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JULIEN SIMS

Cohort 4 Alumni

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JOVONEY MORTON

Cohort 2 Alumni

If you’d like more information about our programs or have questions, contact us below

Do You Have Questions About Our Programs?

  • How is Hustle Hacks different from Gray Matter Bootcamp programs?
    Hustle Hacks is an at-your-own-pace program, with self-guided content in the form of 5-20 minute videos recorded by industry professionals, made available through a digital learning platform.
  • What are the differences between Levels 1, 2, and 3 of Hustle Hacks?
    Level 1 offers access to a library of digital content, but offers no additional mentorship or networking opportunities. If you are a business owner/entrepreneur with a busy schedule, this level is for you! As a Level 2 participant, you’ll have access to the same digital content, with the addition of bi-weekly coaching sessions with a personal business coach dedicated to advancing your business goals. Bi-weekly you’ll get the chance to connect with your cohort members for networking, learning opportunities, and special guest speakers, as well as access to the Gray Matter team & network for support. As a Level 3 participant, you’ll receive all the access to Levels 1 & 2, as well as an opportunity to participate in our Young Black Entrepreneurs Market at the end of the 8 weeks. During this dynamic day-long celebration, you will have the opportunity to showcase your business, compete for investment funds and connect with potential customers event.
  • How much does it cost?
    The costs of the Hustle Hacks program are as follows, based on the level that you opt into: - Level 1: $65 - Level 2: $85 - Level 3: $100 Financial assistance may be available, based on need
  • Do I have to pay when I apply?
    No, payment is not required until you are accepted into the program.
  • Is Hustle Hacks only for college or high school students?
    It's for any young entrepreneur between the ages of 18-24. You also do not need to be currently enrolled in school to participate.
  • How long is the program and when does it start?
    This is an 8 week program and typically starts in the spring (March) with our Young Black Entrepreneurs' Market taking place near the fall.
  • If I participate in level 2 or 3, what are the dates of the live group sessions?"
    Bi-weekly online sessions are 90 minutes in length and take place online. Exact dates will be available once the program application opens.
  • Can you share some tips for submitting the application?
    The application includes questions about who you are, your team, business, and a two-minute introductory video. ​​For the video submission, we want you to shine and showcase who you are as an individual. To craft a strong application: Share Your Vision: Articulate your long-term goals and vision for your entrepreneurial journey. Provide Complete Responses: Address all aspects of the question in your response thoroughly. Personalize Your Application: Tailor your application to reflect your unique strengths, interests, and experiences. Highlight Achievements: Emphasize any relevant achievements or experiences that demonstrate your entrepreneurial spirit Showcase Your Passion and Initiative: Highlight your genuine interest in entrepreneurship and innovation.
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