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Amica Mutual Insurance Company is helping guide Denver area young people from diverse backgrounds to think like, act like and BE entrepreneurs. As a lead philanthropic partner in YouthBiz–a keynote Young Americans program–Amica Companies Foundation provides significant funding, as well as volunteer leadership, doubling the impact of this program in just one year.
What does the impact look like? Matt Ward, a Youth Biz volunteer who also heads up Sales and Client Services at Amica praises YouthBiz for advancing the soft skills of at-risk students, especially their presentation skills and team work. He adds, “It sounds like a cliché, but understanding your own strengths and weaknesses then forming a team that builds on individual strengths that works together is the only way any business can be successful going forward.” As a judge for multiple YouthBiz business competitions and shark tanks, Matt has a high regard for the Power Teams created by the students participating in YouthBiz.
“In their presentations, I saw the students making eye contact, and each taking a role and communicating their passion about their business idea.” In one of Matt’s favorite volunteer experiences, he served first on a focus group for a business team whose product was a greeting card with a pop-out bouquet of flowers and later judged their final pitch. “I got to see how the team played to the members’ strengths in design and production, delegating one to cut and others to assemble their original cards. “I ended up buying one for my wife for Valentine’s Day!”
Matt envisions the YouthBiz students using these skills not only as entrepreneurs but also to ace their first job interviews. Without a program like YouthBiz, “these students won’t get a fair shot in our free enterprise system.” Matt is proud of Amica’s lead role in growing YouthBiz in more low-income communities; without it “a lot of potential will be left on the table.”