This month, the annual Hope Global Forum returned to Atlanta and it was a disruptivator’s dream. C-Suite leaders from government, community and the private sector convened for three days of discussions, ideas and action; outlining a vision for the future of the modern global economy that will include all people, not just some. At the heart of the conference was the theme of creating a future where the poor, underserved and teetering middle class are viewed as untapped assets for economic growth, entrepreneurship and job creation. UNL’s National Program Director, Careshia Moore, was invited to speak on the ‘Youth, Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Strategies for Success’ panel alongside three other youth entrepreneurship innovators: Thanh Tran, Founder of Kidpreneur, an organization from Detroit that provides a fun and educational environment to learn coding, robotics, technology, digital arts and more; Theia Washington, Executive Director of the City of Atlanta’s Women in Entrepreneurship initiative, which allows 15 women entrepreneurs in Atlanta to “incubate” their business at WEI, a technologically advanced environment; and Eric Wilson, Founder of Noble Impact, an education non-profit that, like UNL, exposes students to relevant experiences and tools for achieving success.
Moore highlighted UNL’s three core programs and how they are helping unleash the next wave of disruptive innovators, The Disruptivators, by teaching and encouraging freethinking and entrepreneurship. “Our goal is to get students thinking bigger than their zip codes,” she told the room. Powered by Service, a one-day entry point experience, teaches middle and high schoolers how to identify their spark and unlock their potential to be solution-innovators for real world problems. The UNL Leadership Academy, a four-year intensive program for high school students in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Brooklyn, develops well-rounded, forward-thinking leaders in the four pillars of Talent, Education, Career & Service, ensuring their success for postsecondary education. Lastly, the Moguls in Training program, a national program for UNL’s college and graduate students, assists with college skills and job readiness.
This year alone, UNL has helped over 20 students launch their own small businesses or nonprofits. UNL’s high school and college student entrepreneurs are using their talents to generate small income streams that are helping them support their families and save up for college tuition. The UNL Spark Lab, launching September 2016, will help UNL create more entrepreneurs and go deeper with the ones they have already created. By providing an incubator-like hub for UNL youth from around the world to come learn, create and innovate in the areas of technology, education and culture, students will develop businesses, be exposed to innovative career pathways, produce digital content and collaborate on ideas. Learn more at www.unlSparkLab.org