PICTURED ABOVE: Kerrick Henny, AT&T Regional Vice President-External Affairs, presents $10k check to Jeffrey L Boney, TBA CEO and YEA program founder.
This past week, executives from AT&T joined staff and board members from the Texas Business Alliance (TBA), along with past graduates and current participants of the Youth Entrepreneurship Academy (YEA) program, to present the TBA Foundation with a $10k check as a means to invest towards the development of the youth across the Greater Houston area.
Past graduates such as Felipe Lopez, Demi Forte, Ashura Bayaan and others shared their YEA program experience and how the program has helped them with their overall growth and development in life and their careers.
“Programs like this are extremely important as they help cultivate the leadership potential within our youth and teach them the necessary skills they need to be productive citizens,” said Jeffrey L. Boney, TBA CEO and YEA program founder. “Having committed partners like AT&T helps the YEA program continue to make a difference in the lives of so many creative and innovative young people.”
Since 2012, AT&T has partnered with the TBA Foundation to help fund the YEA program, a free small business and leadership development incubator program that equips high school and college students with the tools and resources to pursue an entrepreneurial alternative. Youth get a hands-on, dynamic experience of the fundamentals of business ownership and mentorship. To date, YEA program has helped launch nearly 50 new youth businesses.
YEA seeks to expose youth, particularly low- to moderate-income youth, to community leaders, successful businessmen and women, and Houston movers and shakers.
Statistics show that an unacceptable number of U.S. students in underserved communities fail to develop the academic, social and citizenship skills necessary to compete and succeed in today’s economy. YEA is a method to bridge the gap and provide an alternative to the traditional career footprint. Many young people have extremely creative, natural entrepreneurial minds prime to soak up knowledge that results in a success path that makes sense for them. By the end of the program, students receive the theoretical and practical experience for exemplifying leadership, teamwork and citizenship.
During the course of the program, students meet leaders from community organizations, Fortune 500 companies and successful members of the small business community. Upon the conclusion of the program, each graduate and new business owner officially launches their business and has a business plan; obtains their DBA as an officially registered business; receives a professionally designed logo; and presents a formal business pitch to a group of specialized judges during an intense YEA Shark Tank Competition. The program culminates with a graduation ceremony, but participants continue their mentorship through teaming with industry-specific mentors to assist them with their development and growth beyond graduation.
The TBA Foundation is currently preparing to solicit its next set of applicants and participants for the next YEA program class. Stay tuned for more details.