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It was 26 years ago that eight teens met with a visionary community leader in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood to solve big problems: gang violence and economic despair. Their solution? YouthBiz entrepreneurship programs, hands-on programs that provided real experience in entrepreneurship and workforce skills.
Fast forward to today, and YouthBiz is still going strong. Thanks to a partnership with Capital One and its team of dedicated associates, YouthBiz has become Young Americans Center for Financial Education’s fastest growing program, with rich potential for continued expansion into schools and partner agencies.
Nationwide, entrepreneurship education is being studied for its positive impacts on youth. A recent NYU study showed that entrepreneurship education helps students develop skills that will benefit them in life and in school, noting improvements in communication and problem-solving, two critical 21st century skills.
Despite this impact, however, only a few schools in the Denver metro area incorporate constant entrepreneurship education. Supporters like Capital One are helping to change this statistic, driving the expansion of YouthBiz to reach 1,701 students last year, a 115 percent growth over the previous year.
In addition, Capital One employees have generously donated their time as volunteers in the YouthBiz program. Volunteer opportunities include evaluating business plans for the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition, participating as judges in StartUp pitch competitions, supporting seasonal YouthBiz Marketplaces where young entrepreneurs gather to sell their products, and offering feedback to Out of the Box participants as they conduct their product research and development.
Young Americans Center envisions that YouthBiz programs will serve as the impetus for increased diversity and inclusion among the next generation of Colorado entrepreneurs and community leaders. Capital One is a valuable partner in that effort!