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Youth Enterprise Development
Youth show a keen interest in starting their own businesses. The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the
Kauffmann Foundation and a Gallop poll have found that nearly 70% of youth express an interest in starting their
own businesses.  Walsted and Kourilsky (1998) find that black youth (more than white youth) see entrepreneurship
as an opportunity to "be your own boss" and "build something for the family" (even more than as an opportunity to
make money). Black youth, more than white youth, also overwhelmingly think entrepreneurship should be taught in
their schools and that entrepreneurs should "give something back to the community." Despite high interest in
starting businesses, significant barriers prohibit black youth from starting valuable enterprises. These barriers
include few business role models and limited entrepreneurship education. African Americans own only 3.6% of
businesses in the US and generate only 1% of revenues, despite comprising 12% of the population.

Research has shown that entrepreneurship education may be an innovative way to empower youth. This project
attacks the roots of poverty by helping youth develop the entrepreneurial skills and confidence to start their own
businesses. Peterman and Kennedy have shown that entrepreneurial education can increase the desirability and
perceived feasibility of starting businesses.  This project is focused particularly on the very low-income youth that
reside in the region. It builds on the entrepreneurial spirit they already possess and helps them channel that
resource into productive activity that benefits them, their families, and the community.


Walstad, William B and Kourilsky, Marilyn L. 1998. Entrepreneurial attitudes and knowledge of black youth. Entrepreneurship:
Theory and practice, 23:2

Peterman, Nicole E. and Kennedy, Jessica. 2003. Enterprise education: Influencing students' perceptions of entrpreneurship.
Entrepreneurship: Theory and practice 28:2, p. 129-144.