The City Bureau of Recreation’s Biz Kid$ program provides interactive, applied business and entrepreneurial education to city youth ages 10-18.
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Local Challenges and National Changes: The time for youth entrepreneurship education is now
Approximately 80 percent of Rochester City School District students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. The high school graduation rate is under 50 percent. In high poverty, high crime neighborhoods, many youth don’t have the resources to help them plan for a successful future. Their efforts are instead devoted to living day-by-day. For many young Rochesterians, finding part time work is a struggle and, for some, making money through illegal means feels like the only option. With a challenging job market, Rochester’s economy has been hit hard by the “brain drain,” as young talent moves away to find careers elsewhere.
On the national level, the economic role of small businesses is growing increasingly important:
- A 2006 article published in Economic Perspectives, a journal of the U.S. Small Business Association, reveals that less than 9% of Americans work for Fortune 500 companies today, compared with 20 percent in 1980.
- Microenterprises, defined by annual revenues below $1 million, represent 90 percent of the businesses located in the poorest areas of the 100 largest U.S. cities and 53 percent of them are operated in a home. These microenterprises represent 15 percent of the U.S. economy! A 2004 BusinessWeek article points out that “although minorities represent roughly 27 percent of the U.S. population, minority owned outfits represent just 14 percent of U.S. businesses,” indicating a need to educate minority youth about entrepreneurial opportunities.
- Urban youth with an entrepreneurial frame of mind are better equipped to handle the local and national challenges they face in today’s world of work. Even more importantly, our youth want to learn these skills and currently do not have the opportunity in school:
- Gallup polls have found that nearly 70 percent of youth aged 14-19 and more than 40 percent aged 9-12 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs!
- According to a 2007 poll by Harris Interactive, 55 percent of today’s youth feel that individuals help make their community a better place, with 32% attributing small businesses as positive examples and 22 percent citing big business.
- In a 2007 survey by Visa, 91 percent of respondents said they supported requiring general financial education in every high school in the country. Currently just 15 states have any sort of requirement for high school students.
Knowing that the desire is out there, it’s our responsibility as a society to provide youth with the tools and guidance they need to take charge of their own futures and have a beneficial impact on their local communities.
Youth Entrepreneurship: Filling a critical education gap for our youth and benefiting our city
Embodying entrepreneurship helps urban youth break down many of the obstacles they face. Evidence from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, gathered on behalf of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), indicates that “youth who are taught about entrepreneurship show a positive change in attitude and strong success orientation, and are more likely to be focused on academic and professional achievements and aspirations and leadership.”
Seeing how many doors are opened by entrepreneurship, youth are inspired to take control of their futures. Additional benefits of Biz Kid$ and other youth entrepreneurship education programs include growth in:
- ACADEMICS: Young people see a real-world application of the skills learned at school. Not ten years down the line in corporate America, but right here, right now, in the neighborhoods of Rochester. English, math, government and other core academic classes that had seemed irrelevant to daily life are viewed through the entrepreneurial lens as important tools for business development.
- LIFE SKILLS: Young people are taught personal, professional and financial skills they will utilize for the rest of their lives.
- SELF SUFFICIENCY: Youth recognize the possibility of working for themselves instead of for someone else. In a tough job market, they can also rely on their own ability to generate income.
- COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP: Entrepreneurial thinking helps youth identify community needs and recognize that they have the power to provide solutions of both personal and public benefit.
- GOAL ORIENTATION: 32 percent increase in interest in attending college and 44 percent increase in occupational aspiration, demonstrated in the Harvard study cited above.
- BRAIN RETAIN!: Entrepreneurship invests youth in their city as a place that they are excited to work, live and grow in, countering Rochester’s “brain drain” epidemic.
- ROCHESTER: Youth entrepreneurship education programs provide participants with viable financial options to discourage illegal means of making money, which translates into reduced crime and a boost to the local economy.
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The largest and longest running component of the Biz Kid$ program, the weeklong camp lays the foundation of entrepreneurship knowledge. Four camps are held throughout the year free-of-charge to City of Rochester residents ages 10 to 18 and are offered to Monroe County residents for a small fee. Each of the 20 to 25 youth taking part receives useful supplies such as a canvas brief case, calculator, wallet, writing utensils and personal business cards as well as breakfast and lunch each day. The curriculum, recently developed internally by the Biz Kid$ instructors, teaches business topics such as time management, operating legally, sales forecasting, marketing, networking, public speaking and goal setting. The model utilizes a very interactive approach that makes use of several different types of games and group exercises to demonstrate how the topics are used in a business environment. Participants are given the opportunity to sell either lemonade or hot chocolate, depending on the season, in a public square downtown. Students also present their business idea before a panel of judges and are awarded cash and other prizes at a graduation ceremony.
2013 Camp Schedule:
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Apply for Biz Kid$ Camp
If you are 10-18 years old and reside in the city, or are a parent/guardian/friend/relative of a young person 10-18 interested in Biz Kid$, you can download the application form here. If you have any questions about the application form or process, call 428-7371.
Download the Brochure
Apply for Biz Kid$
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Biz Kid$ Real is a collaboration between the City of Rochester Bureau of Recreation’s Biz Kid$ program, the Rochester Public Market, the Credit Education Bureau and the New York State Farmers Market Federation. A team of approximately 12 youth are tasked with creating a healthy snack made of New York State produce to be packaged and sold at the Rochester Public Market and the New York State Fair. The team must go through all of the steps typical to business development including planning, research, production, marketing and sales. Participants meet on a monthly basis from January to June at which time they become paid employees under the City of Rochester’s Summer of Opportunities program. At the same time team members receive education on several financial topics including banking, budgeting, building wealth, wise spending, financial planning, credit and debt. Knowledge gained is used to develop financial education workshops that team members help to facilitate at local schools, community centers, and service agencies. Finally, students help to develop an anti-check cashing ad campaign to be directed at local youth using schools, banks, public transportation, and community centers as venues.
Biz Kid$ Real Brochure
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Graduates of the Biz Kid$ camp are invited to attend special one day seminars held four to six times throughout the year to deepen their understanding of entrepreneurship as well as keep them excited about starting their businesses. Typical sized groups of 30 participants gain hands on experience in fields such as supply and demand, banking and credit, taxes and licenses, product design, business management and customer relations. Topics are supplemented by field trips to local companies which have a professional focus in one of the fields or simulations such as creating a working economy or keeping a budget.
Biz Kid$ & Beyond Seminars
- Credit and Banking
- Customer Service
- Product Design
- How to be a Smart Consumer
- Goal Setting
- Social Entrepreneurship
- Sim Biz Competition – Annual business simulation game
- Field Trips to Area Businesses and Colleges
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Businesses or individuals who would like offer financial support will be listed in the annual Biz Kid$ brochure as Biz Kid$ supporters. In addition, all donors will be invited to join the Biz Kid$ Advisory Board which meets twice per year and offers supporters the opportunity to learn what’s happening with Biz Kid$ and offer ideas for program events.
A variety of additional business sponsorship opportunities are available. Merchandising possibilities include sponsor logos on Biz Kid$ t-shirts or bags, company graphic materials can be placed at event locations and any media exposure will include mention of supporters for the particular program being covered. We are open to many possibilities including in-kind donations and even ideas for future collaborations or partnerships. Business owners are welcome to contact the Biz Kid$ Coordinator at (585) 428-7371 to discuss sponsorship options.
Download the Contribution Form!
Also, we welcome volunteers! For more information about volunteer opportunities, call 428-6755.
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If you are interested in experiential entrepreneurship education and would like to purchase a copy of the Biz Kid$ award-winning curriculum, contact the Biz Kid$ Coordinator by email or call 428-7371.
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Biz Kid$ Coordinator
400 Dewey Avenue
Rochester, NY 14613
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