The YES Program prepares for 3rd cohort of
Baltimore student entrepreneurs

Non-profit summer program offers startup-building skill development to area high schoolers

Baltimore-based non-profit Our D.R.E.A.M. Foundation is opening doors this summer for untapped entrepreneurial talent, with its 3rd Annual Youth Entrepreneurship Startup (YES) Program, a free one-week camp for local high school students. Over just six days students absorb a variety of information and experience in startup development, from idea generation to pitching their business plan to a panel of area executives. The 2017 program will welcome twenty-five students to the University of Baltimore Law School, July 24th through July 29th, for an experience which has been described as  “fun”, “extremely informative”, and “mindset- and life-changing”.

The YES Program exists to close the gap in minority youth’s entrepreneurial skills. According to a recent Gallup study, improving economic performance and capital for minority-owned business critically lies in “skill and development training” and “targeted initiatives” to help build more viable businesses. The reports adds: “Creating opportunities for young minority entrepreneurs to learn about banking and finance may provide a much-needed foundation for helping minority-owned businesses flourish once students graduate to business ownership.”

Our D.R.E.A.M. chairman and co-founder Johnny Graham, Ph.D. is a native of Baltimore and graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Graham is currently a marketing professor and researcher at Howard University. The YES Program merges his personal and educational backgrounds, crafting a unique opportunity to educate, inspire, and mentor the future of Baltimore’s economic landscape.

The Y.E.S. curriculum comprises lessons in marketing, branding, industry and competitor analysis, technology and finance. Students immediately apply the information they learn, using time daily to work in groups developing business pitches to present in a competition at the end of the program.

The program also includes guest talks and workshops from local business leaders  and organizations. This year’s program includes a keynote speech from TEDCO leader McKeever Conwell, a talk on social entrepreneurship from Darius Graham, Director of the Johns Hopkins University’s Social Innovation Lab, a product design workshop from local makerspace Open Works, a presentation on banking from Calvin Young III of Harbor Bank, and a CEO panel featuring Takia Ross of Accessmatized and other local entrepreneurs.

This year’s program is also sponsored by Fearless Solutions, a Baltimore based software service company, which was recently named the Maryland Minority Owned Business of the Year for the U.S. Small Business Week Awards and Premier Management Corporation, a local government contracting agency which specializes in cybersecurity, intelligence support, and management services.

All interested parties including businesses or individuals looking to donate or mentor — should visit www.thisisourdream.org or e-mail info@thisisourdream.org for additional information.