BALTIMORE — A new program is being offered to rising junior and senior Baltimore City students who are interested in entrepreneurship between August 3 and August 8, 2015. Johnny Graham, 27; and Justin Peters, 29; have partnered with the University of Baltimore Black Law Students Association (UBBLSA) to host the free Youth Entrepreneurship Startup (Y.E.S.).
The summer program is a part of the broader non-profit called the OUR D.R.E.A.M (Develop Resources to Empower All Minds) Foundation, which was started by Graham and Peters in 2015 to promote economic empowerment in underserved communities.
Peters, who grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, holds an undergraduate degree in public and community Health. He recently graduated from Fordham University School of Law. Graham was born and raised in Baltimore. He earned an undergraduate degree in finance and an MBA. Graham is currently a Ph.D. student at Temple University in Pennsylvania.
“We actually own a consulting firm, Graham & Peters. We work with a lot of up and coming entrepreneurs, nonprofits and businesses on business strategy. One thing we have always been passionate about is giving back to the community. One thing we thought would be great would be to do something outside of just meeting with the clients that we work with in our consulting firm and do something to utilize those same skills and resources to give back to the youth. And being that I’m from Baltimore, I thought that would be a great place to start,” Graham said.
Graham explained that various components will be covered during the Y.E.S. Program and other entrepreneurs in Baltimore and neighboring areas will also assist with Y.E.S.
“There will be lectures given by my-self and other people within the business field on various concepts related to business. We will cover everything from marketing strategy and branding, how to come up with a business idea and refine that idea, financing opportunities such as venture capitalists and angel investors.
They will learn personal branding to brand yourself as a leader and entrepreneur. At the culmination of the program there is a business pitch competition, which will allow participants to present their business ideas in a 15-minute business pitch to experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders for awards and prizes. They will be working on those
ideas throughout the program, as well getting that firsthand experience,” Graham said.
While attending Temple, Graham had an opportunity to teach in a similar entrepreneurship style program for inner city high school students last summer. He presented branding and marketing lectures, which are his areas of expertise.
“I could tell the influence of being a little closer in age to them, and looking like them, and teaching them, I could tell that it had an effect. The first thing I thought instantly after finishing teaching for that program was that we have to do this in Baltimore. This needs to be in the city I grew up in,” Graham said. “I would hope that this program can serve as a portal to acquire some knowledge for youth in Baltimore that are interested in entrepreneurship. I would hope this also would encourage students not just to be entrepreneurs, but to be leaders in the business field and leaders in life.”
The priority deadline for students to apply is June 12, 2015. Applicants will be considered based on space available basis after that date.
For more information about the program and the requirements in order to paricipate or to apply, visit: www.theyesprogram.org/apply/.