youth_court__web.jpgMIAMI – The Teen Court program through Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) recently launched a youth entrepreneurship workshop series to help address the high unemployment rate among teens. The program will focus on the county’s 15 Target Urban Areas (TUAs) neighborhoods and two commercial corridors that are economic development priorities.

Economic research revealed that socio-economic conditions in the TUAs lag far behind the rest of the county.

This new economic initiative aims to help reverse that trend by exposing participants to business principles, young and experienced entrepreneurs and encourage the creation of micro-businesses.

Elijah Wells, a 16-year-old, local filmmaker and entrepreneur served as the inaugural keynote speaker.

“This was a great experience for the kids and me. It gives the kids exposure to another outlet and motivation to start on their dreams because they see a kid their age doing it,” said Wells, also the co-owner of Elijah Wells Films, LLC, an Overtown-based production and marketing firm.

MDEAT is hopeful that message of empowerment and business resonates with its youth volunteers.

The agency created the youth entrepreneurship initiative to give Teen Court participants an optional track on entrepreneurship. The workshop series is an extension of that effort. It is designed to teach the teen volunteers business development skills while fostering the development and growth of micro-businesses among these youth.

It will also expose participants to successful black entrepreneurs to further motivate and reinforce benefits of business ownership. According to the county’s November Labor Market Report, black residents suffer twice the unemployment rates of their counterparts in other communities.

The workshop series aims to decrease that burden.

“In order to create a sustainable and productive community, we cannot afford to leave anyone behind,” MDEAT Executive Director John Dixon said. “We need a community filled with productive participants that can make economic contributions to their families. These equipped participants could lighten the economic load of their families, help lower the crime rate and increase the county’s tax base.” 

The youth entrepreneurship workshop series is an on-going seminar that occurs during the second week of each month before Teen Court sessions.

The four-part workshop series cover business essentials, business plan creation, business economics and marketing/salesmanship skills. Various workshops will feature local entrepreneurs and give participants access to helpful resources.