Empowering Youth through Entrepreneurship & Design Thinking

Skip to 4:35 to see when I started speaking passionately and less rehearsed. I was incredibly nervous to be on such a big stage and there were even some hiccups with my slides (luckily that was edited out).

This pitch did NOT go as planned. I ended up free styling a bit and telling a personal story about my little brother (which actually got a few laughs).

Why Creative Minds? I already had a passion for serving youth in the community and I had a new found love for entrepreneurship and design thinking, so why not combine the two, right?

I truly believed that we could shine a light on the talent that exists within our community and empower them by providing them with a tool set that would allow them to change the world. I traveled all over our city to determine whether young people even needed an opportunity like this. I interviewed entrepreneurs and small business owners all throughout Wilmington to get to the bottom of my main assumption. It was validated: none of them had ever been encouraged to be entrepreneurs from a young age. They had always had dreams and aspirations, but there was always someone telling them to be “normal.”

Just a few months after my Tech2gether pitch, I was seeing my dream become a reality. I was organizing the first ever ‘I Have a Dream’ business pitch competition during a youth empowerment conference hosted by a local nonprofit. I chronicled my story here:

Garry Johnson Wants to Build a Culture of Youth Entrepreneurship

The event was a huge success, and you can check out how it went here:

These young Black men won the ‘I Have a Dream’ Business Pitch Competition

I couldn’t just let this be a once a year opportunity, so throughout the past year, I’ve been hosting entrepreneurial workshops wherever I was interacting with youth. One of my favorite places was a juvenile detention center where I was mentoring youth on a weekly basis. Innovation is often hidden in plain sight, and I’m on a mission to tap into the creative potential of any young person willing to take a chance.

A screenshot of from iamthevillage.org. Check out the pitch competition winners on the right, they’re doing amazing things!

Check out the pitch competition winners in the local news:

Trio of students hoping to invest in Wilmington’s future by combating blight

Our second annual event is coming up on January 10th, check back here to hear about the next success stories!

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