I am passionate about empowerment, which is emerging as one of WhirlWind’s foremost core values. We are exploring the idea of empowering all of our stakeholders, by listening to their needs and identifying their opportunities and challenges.
So I was excited when I got a call from a local Prince George’s County nonprofit called the D.R.E.A.M. (Developing Resources to Empower All Minds) Foundation to sponsor the 2018 Y.E.S. (Youth Entrepreneurship Startup) Program. The Y.E.S program is a five-week, all expenses paid summer camp for Baltimore City high school students, aimed at entrepreneurship and financial literacy. WhirlWind became a Gold sponsor for the event, allowing the students to participate at no cost, including lunches, field trips and lectures from other entrepreneurs.
This summer, the Y.E.S. program hosted a total of 26 high school students. Y.E.S. participants learned key concepts of running and operating a business, from creating an idea, to competitor analysis, market trends, value proposition and scalability. The students met with 21 entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, who shared their success stories and struggles. The students also visited National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to study black inventors and pioneers.
The graduates of the Y.E.S. Summer program in 2018 will participate in the Teen Biz Challenge held by the Office of the Mayor, Catherine E. Pugh, in Baltimore. The teenagers will present their ideas to a panel of judges, including myself. They will pitch their businesses for a final round of up to $5,000 in startup funds.
I connected with a lot of bright and promising students with lofty ideas, and that was really inspiring. We are in the process of crafting our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) to empower 10,000 people in 10 years, working on it through one relationship at a time. Sponsoring the Y.E.S. program is a step in the right direction. I look forward to more.
What does empowerment mean to you? In what ways can you demonstrate the core value of empowerment in your own roles (at WhirlWind and outside)?