Resources to Promote Entrepreneurship


As I wrote a few weeks ago, I'm currently working on a project with the Philadelphia Youth Network to promote youth entrepreneurship called Studio E. The focus is on making entrepreneurship and the habits and skills of successful entrepreneurs part of our career development work with students. 

In addition to the Studio E website, we also have two major resources we're developing. 

Try It Tuesdays

The Try It Tuesdays activities are for youth development practitioners to use with students to help them explore different aspects of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking. These activities can be integrated into your current youth programs and can be used in a variety of ways. 

How They Do It Interview Series with Everyday Entrepreneurs

We're also doing a series of video interviews with everyday entrepreneurs called How They Do It. Each interview is about 20 minutes long and in them, we explore how different people are creating opportunities for themselves and developing multiple income streams. Some of our entrepreneurs are in "for-profit" businesses, while others are using entrepreneurship to have social impact, creating social enterprises through their entrepreneurial efforts. 

These videos can be a great way to open up discussions about what it means to be an entrepreneur and to get youth talking about the possibilities. We'll be adding to these over the next few months. 

Entrepreneurship for Everyone

Although the focus of Studio E is on young people, both the Try It Tuesdays and the How They Do It Interviews can be used with adults to promote entrepreneurial thinking and to open up conversations about entrepreneurship as an option. As we look at a job market where there are still 3 unemployed people for every job opening, we need to start talking with everyone about the need to create your own opportunities, even when you are looking for work. These resources can help jumpstart the process. 

Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship

I'm currently working with the Philadelphia Youth Network on a project to promote entpreneurship to youth called Studio E, and we had our kick-off webinar today. You can see a recording of that broadcast above. We covered: 

  • The Entrepreneurial Imperative--what's happening in today's job market that is making it necessary for all young people to seriously consider self-employment and to develop the skills of entrepreneurs. 
  • New opportunities being created in the market by technology and trends in work arrangements and innovative funding options. 
  • Strategies for integrating entrepreneurship into our work with youth, regardless of the type of program we are running. 

We also introduced Try it Tuesdays, a weekly feature we'll be running for the next several weeks where we'll feature a new activity to try with youth that promotes entrepreneurship and/or teaches them some of the skills and thinking used by expert entrepreneurs. 

If you want to keep up with Try it Tuesdays, then you can follow the posts here. We have our first activity up, called The Inventing Game. It's a great way to get young people thinking about how simple tools and resources can be used to solve customer problems and how this ties in with starting a business. 

We're really excited about the intiative and looking forward to generating new conversations about how we can integrate entrepreneurial thinking and ideas into all of our youth programming. If you have ideas about this or resources you use, please drop me a line in the comments section. We'd love to hear from you! 

The Plummeting Labor Market Fortunes of Teens and Young Adults

Brookings has published an interactive tool to explore key workforce indicators for youth, ages 19-25 in 100 metropolitan areas around the country. You can find it here

They've also published a paper with recommendations that you can find here.  It's not pretty.

From the summary:

Employment prospects for teens and young adults in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas plubbmed between 2000 and 2011. On a number of measures--employment rates, labor force under-utilization, unemployment and year-round joblessness--teens and young adults fared poorly, and sometimes disastrously. While labor market problems afected all young people, some had better outcomes than others: Non-Hispanic whites, those from higher income households, those with work experience and those with higher levels of education were more successful in the labor market. In particular, education and previous work experience were most strongly associated with employment. 

Polcy and program efforts to reduce youth joblessness and labor force underutilization should focus on the following priorities: incorporating more work-based learning (such as apprenticeships, co-ops and internships) into education and training; creating tighter linkages between secondary and post-secondary education; ensuring that training meets regional labor market needs; expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit; and facilitating the transition of young people into the labor market through enhanced career counseling, mentoring, occupation and work-readiness skills development; and the creation of short-term subsidized jobs. 

This isn't news to most of us, but it does paint a pretty compelling picture of how bad things are for young people in many communities. 

What is your WIB area doing to address these issues?