BROOKLYN, NY – Hundreds gathered in support of teen ingenuity and innovation on Saturday at Brooklyn Borough Hall, where nearly thirty Brooklyn students made their entrepreneurial debut and pitched their small businesses during The First Annual Teen Entrepreneur Explosion.

New York City Council Member Farah N. Louis, a member of the Committee on Youth Services, partnered with Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes (G-MACC) and Partners Uplifting Daughters & Sons for the Explosion, the culmination of a six-week session Boss Talk Teen Entrepreneurial Workshop launched by reality star Yandy Smith to advance financial literacy and education while creating a pathway to the economic growth of local communities. 

“As a child growing up in Grant housing projects in Harlem, New York, I quickly learned opportunities are limited for children who grow up in neighborhoods similar to where I’m from. Through my nonprofit organization, Partners Uplifting Our Daughters & Sons, I helped create the Teen Entrepreneur Program to show youth in urban communities that anything is possible and your circumstances don’t dictate your success. It’s been extremely gratifying to watch our teens blossom into promising CEOs. Not only did the funding from this program help our students set up their own viable businesses, but it also increased their confidence immensely. Today they know without a doubt, with hard work and dedication anything is possible!” said Yandy Smith,Co-Founder/CEO Partners Uplifting Our Daughters & Sons.

The courses featured motivational speakers such as Jamila T. Davis, a co-founder of WomenOverIncarcerated.org and Kwan Miller, founder of the GROOM program among others who shared their business expertise with the aspiring group of young entrepreneurs. Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes, Inc. Tamika D. Mallory, and Council Member Farah N. Louis were also key stakeholders who were supportive of this initiative in its inaugural year with the hopes of establishing it as a community staple for youth of all ages. 

“I’m excited for our teens to be able to showcase their talents & businesses this Saturday at the Teen Entrepreneur Explosion. I believe this expo will give them real-life experience and teach them valuable marketing skills. The public is sure to be amazed by the innovative businesses our participants created,” said Jamila Davis, Program Coordinator.

The program was instrumental in empowering urban youth to look beyond their circumstances, take control of their lives, visualize their dreams, then establish their business for success.

“Building a business, at any age, takes great courage and confidence. Yet, in communities of color, life circumstances and institutional barriers often hinder our ability to dream big and discover our full potential. I am thankful for the visionaries and mentors behind The Boss Talk Teen Entrepreneurial Workshop who have made a tremendous impact on our community by empowering the youth, the next generation of leaders, for a successful future.” said Council Member Farah N. Louis, a member of the Council’s Committee on Youth Services and staunch youth advocate who allocated funding towards anti-violence programs.

“Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes, Inc. (G-M.A.C.C. Inc.) is thrilled about the success of the Teen Entrepreneur Workshop. In collaboration with EGL PUD, this program has allowed 27 young adults to bring their professional passions to life. It has been inspiring and reaffirming to watch savvy business tools, passion, a shift in mindset, and direction from inspiring community members lay the foundation for career pathways and employment opportunities. When teens and young adults step away from guns and crime there has to be an outlet for their time and creativity. The Teen Entrepreneur Workshop delivered that and more,” said Shanduke McPhatter, CEO/Founder of G-MACC Inc .

Every youth participant learned the fundamental elements of how to run and launch a business: people, plan, process, product, and profit. They were tasked with various assignments including choosing the right business structure, writing business and marketing plans, creating a budget, branding your business, and developing a launch strategy. Upon course completion, they were awarded $1,500 as startup capital by G-MACC.

“From conflict and Facebook feuds to podcast hosts and entrepreneurs, I watched my female students grow from fighting and tearing each other down to edifying one another and partnering in efforts to accomplish goals connected to their true purpose- exemplifying excellence. As a principal, I was grateful to partner with Yandy, Jamila, Tamika, and G-MACC. They helped to mentor, uplift, and support our girls with not only words of encouragement; but also, with opportunity. They provided more than just comforting advice, they engaged my girls in thoughtful bonding activities, they made the time to come and help to dissolve conflict personally, and they helped the girls see the best in themselves by honing in on their talents. As a Deputy Superintendent, I look forward to working with them in efforts to bring resources to D23 families, students, and community,” said Josephine Yeboah Van-Ess,Deputy Superintendent, Community School District 23.