Guest Blog Courtesy of Briana Curran, Vice President, Communications and Community Relations at Wells Fargo
Entrepreneurs are people with vision, ideas and an incredible sense of persistence. Names like Bill Gates, Martha Stewart and Mary Kay Ash (not well known by today’s youth but she built a makeup empire while driving a bright pink Cadillac!), often come to mind as innovators who have founded successful, enduring businesses. But like all successful entrepreneurs, Bill, Martha, Mary Kay and countless others had their first taste of starting a business at a young age.
Research indicates that young people who have early entrepreneurial experiences develop grit, resiliency, problem solving, self-management, improved collaboration, and creativity, all skills needed to achieve success in school, career and life.
BUILD Greater Boston understands the power of empowering young adults to start their own businesses and uses entrepreneurship as the hook to engage urban teens in under-resourced schools and propel them to high school, college and career success. BUILD is not a simulation – it’s an in-school, credit bearing elective where students launch real businesses, even before they are old enough to drive a car. But why entrepreneurship? The founders of BUILD understand the transformative power that these early experiences of being small business owners can have on a young person’s life and also the need for small businesses in a community. Small businesses are economic drivers, creating jobs and providing products that meet the diverse needs of the communities where they operate.
And like all successful entrepreneurs, BUILD pairs these small business owners with experienced and knowledgeable mentors from the business world to help students build their company, develop a pricing strategy and perfect their sales pitch. The power of these mentors, which includes a team from Wells Fargo’s Boston Commercial Banking office, provide students a professional network of supportive adults and access to technical assistance so they are able to not just see their ideas come to life but see them thrive.
Beginning in 2020, Wells Fargo will focus on a new philanthropy strategy and one of the three main pillars intensifies efforts to deliver more stability to entrepreneurs – of all ages – on initiatives that provide capital, training, and technical assistance – such as business plan development, budgeting and marketing. Through a recent $25,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, the company will continue its investment in BUILD Greater Boston and these diverse young small business owners they create every day. Learn more about Wells Fargo here.