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One of the many areas for improvement within the current educational system in the United States is the lack of focus on teaching entrepreneurship at an early age. In reality, teaching young people to understand and practice entrepreneurship would have a tremendous impact on the black community in particular and would benefit the country as a whole.

Britney Robbins has taken a huge step in filling the education gap with the launch of the Gray Matter Experience. The Gray Matter Experience is a 9-week entrepreneurial experience program for 24 selected African American high school students, ages 15-18, across Chicago. Its mission is to expose African American high school students to entrepreneurship by allowing them access to Black professionals, entrepreneurs, resources and opportunities that help grow their entrepreneurial interests and inspire them to create businesses that help change the landscape of underrepresented neighborhoods across Chicago. The program consists of a series of engaging workshops comprised of team building activities, group and individual projects, in-depth discussions, guest speakers, and fun, engaging field trips. Throughout the program, students create businesses that impact communities on the South and West sides of Chicago.

During each workshop, students will learn an entrepreneurial concept taught by Black entrepreneurs and professionals with experience in each of the respective concentrations. Students will learn first-hand from entrepreneurs that they can relate to and apply the knowledge gained directly to their team businesses. All presenting teams receive money to fund their businesses and are paired with mentors to help launch the businesses created during the program.

Gray Matter aims to educate, empower and assist students in creating and launching their own businesses while providing them access to resources and support to ensure students understand that their ideas are valid and vital to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Britney has built a diverse team of young entrepreneurs and business owners to serve as leaders and mentors for the program. The first session launched on July 9th with 20 students and is currently taking applications for the second cohort to start in the spring.

If you know of any high schoolers in Chicago that would benefit from learning about and launching their own business through a carefully guided program, encourage them to apply for the next cohort.

Educating our youth is a vital first step into making the improvements that we want as a community. Do you know of any other programs that teach entrepreneurship to the youth that can use more participants or mentors and leaders?

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