This afternoon, over a dozen greater Newark high school students who have spent the last academic year creating their own glass art and an accompanying business plan for marketing and selling their one-of-a-kind pieces will showcase their work at our 13th Annual Business Plan Competition and Trade Fair. The GlassRoots FLAME and Business & Entrepreneurship Programs, dedicated to nurturing and guiding the entrepreneurial spirit, are modeled after the curriculum from the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an international non-profit organization that introduces youth to the world of entrepreneurship.
Youth entrepreneurship is a proven strategy that positively impacts the lives of young people, particularly those hard to reach, disadvantaged and at-risk youth we serve here at GlassRoots. Participants in our youth entrepreneurship programs have shown improvements in their communication, decision-making and goal-setting abilities and have an increased interest in attending college while simultaneously decreasing their exposure to at-risk behaviors. Over the past three years, 100% of our students eligible to graduate from high school have in fact graduated, with most heading to postsecondary programs.
Our programs offer a plethora of benefits, including financial education, role models and the necessary tools to successfully design and operate a business. These programs also offer our youth an opportunity to take risks, manage the results and learn from the outcomes while also motivating them to be productive and engaged in their communities.
This year, students in the school-day FLAME program were challenged to design a product that could retail at Whole Foods for $19.99 or less; thus the students had to reverse engineer glass art products and create a design that could wholesale no more than $8/piece, which could be made numerous times and were salable. They rose to the challenge, and you can now purchase their work in the Whole Foods in Downtown Newark. We know that by embracing youth entrepreneurship we are positioning our community to generate and retain wealth. Over the last 20 years, entrepreneurship has accounted for more than 75% of all new jobs in America. By supporting youth entrepreneurship programs, we’re not only improving our local economy, we are strengthening America’s economy and offering opportunities for youth to build wealth, and envision a new future.