Youth Entrepreneurs of Atlanta (YE-ATL), a privately funded business program hosted in public high schools, teaches students free-enterprise fundamentals through hands-on learning activities, including a final project of writing and presenting a workable business plan. During the spring, every YE-ATL student must complete and present a business plan. While students are encouraged to develop plans for profitable businesses, they are also urged to consider what they’re most passionate about and create a business idea out of that passion. A team of educators and business professionals judge the students’ plans, and the winning students at each participating school take part in a city-wide Youth Entrepreneurs competition for Venture Capital Awards. YE-ATL students learn about different types of businesses and the many aspects of running a business. The goal of the program is to spark students’ interest in owning their own business or creating value as an employee by “thinking like an owner.” YE-ATL’s role is to reveal avenues of opportunity for young people who dare to dream.
At Maynard H. Jackson High School, Dr. Theo Smith, Jr. and Kristie Stargell are the two instructors. Both are highly qualified in business education. The instructors, in collaboration with Scott Brown (program manager), afford the students various learning opportunities ranging from guest speakers to experimental field trips.
The highlight of the fall semester was Market Day, in which student teams compete to see who can create the greatest profit margin through sales. Items sold are left solely up to the student teams after appropriate market research for the item(s) has been conducted. The event is preceded by a field trip to CostCo Wholesale Warehouse to purchase stock for Market Day sales.
Additionally, the spring semester’s highlight will be an in-class business plan competition. From this tier of competition, a winner moves to the citywide competition to be held at a later date. All principles gained in the fall semester are applied during the spring semester.
Youth Entrepreneurs of Atlanta is not a typical business class. It is a privately funded class in public schools that uses a nationally certified curriculum from the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) along with hands-on learning activities and business community involvement to bring out the entrepreneurial talent each student possesses. High school students who enroll in YE-ATL, which is a business elective, receive credit just as they would for any other elective. Dr. Smith and Stargell are NFTE certified and enjoy teaching the course.
Big thanks to Jackson’s Lola Azuana for this info!