F.E.M.A is Holding its 4th Annual Youth Expo for Youth Entrepreneurs Oct. 19
Since June of 2015, Laneice McGee has been teaching youth ages 11-18 how to be entrepreneurs and how to run businesses through her organization F.E.M.A (Future Entrepreneurs Moving Ahead). Through F.E.M.A, youth participate in a six to eight weeks program that goes through the fundamentals of how to be a successful entrepreneur. The youth come in at different stages, some already have a business and are looking to make it legit. While other youth may only have an idea that they hope to turn into a business.
McGee said the goal is to give the youth the option to start their own business, even if they don’t always pursue it. Because just by knowing that they have other options can lead them to a better future, she said.
McGee named her organization F.E.M.A because although they can’t be around all the time, they’re there when you need them, she said.
“I’m teaching them how to be entrepreneurs as I’m learning myself,” said McGee. “There’s always another option to earn income.”
F.E.M.A is a time-consuming program, which is why McGee said some of the youth don’t always make it to the end. According to McGee, at least one youth drops out of the program each year.
The classes average around two hours, which includes a free lunch for the youth. McGee noticed earlier on to “make sure they’re not hungry so they can focus.” Each class has a different topic such as what is entrepreneurship, how to market and website design. Since McGee isn’t an expert in all of the topics, she brings in individuals who are. The youth also fill out a business plan which makes them think about the cost of their business, said McGee.
Most, if not all of the kids, come from low-income, underrepresented communities because McGee wants to make sure to give those youth opportunities, resources and knowledge that they usually wouldn’t receive.
“It’s my responsibility to share anything I have,” she said. “I don’t have to reach a certain pinnacle to give back.”
During the program, youth will design their own logo (if they don’t have one already), take professional pictures and videos, and create business cards. McGee considers these items to be apart of the youth’s “business kits”, which also comes with a name plate and a candy jar with their logo on it.
This year’s class has seven young entrepreneurs: Nakia Triplett (Prima), Jocquanae Rawis and Asia Henry (The Real Gloss Bosses), Nya Jones (Player Customs), Micah Johnson (The Brown Boy Bowtie), Destinye Johnson (Just Hair) and Ramaro Hopkins (B.A.M, Becoming a Man). Each of these youth will participate in the My City My Biz expo on Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 8633 W. Brown Deer Rd.
The youth will market their product or services at the expo and the best candidates will receive cash prizes. And all of the youth will receive a plaque of completion once done with the program. But even after the program is over, the youth have the opportunity to work with one of McGee’s colleagues to set up their business legally.
“Remember, just like [adults] need encouragement, are youth need that too,” said McGee. “We can change their lives.”
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