ST. PAUL, Minn., – Entrepreneurship in the United States is on the rise. 12% of U.S. adults are involved in some form of early-stage entrepreneurship.1 Entrepreneurial activity by ethnicity shows the highest rates among African-Americans at 14%,1 and immigrants are more likely to start a business than non-immigrants.2 The positive impact of entrepreneurship on minority families is dramatic. For example, the average net wealth of an African American family in the U.S. is $10,000; this figure increases 600% if an entrepreneur is in the household. Latino households see an increase of 300% when an entrepreneur is in the household.
Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest (JAUM) and Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) are collaborating to leverage this positive impact through a new initiative to develop young entrepreneurs of color. The JA/Meda Fellows Program will equip students with the skills needed to become successful business owners in our community.
Through the program, students from Patrick Henry High School in North Minneapolis are paired with entrepreneur volunteers from Meda client companies. Volunteers were selected based on the student’s specific area of interest to mentor them on all aspects of starting a business. Students will create, market, and run an actual company, and will have the option to continue the company at the conclusion of the program.
JA/Meda Fellows will also hone their business and career development skills through the following opportunities:
“We are excited to partner with Meda to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit that resides in this young generation,” said Gina Blayney, President and CEO of JAUM. “We believe this program will equip students with the skills needed to succeed in the business world, which will ultimately create economic opportunities that support the growth and vibrancy of our community.”
“The Junior Achievement- Meda Fellow program is an important investment in youth of color,” said Gary Cunningham, CEO & President of Meda. “Studies show that minority entrepreneurship has an incredible, positive effect on families. So it becomes important to foster this entrepreneurial spirit in students as they make long-term decisions about education and career. I am excited about this partnership Meda has with Junior Achievement on this innovative program. It is an investment into the future of our community and these students.”
About Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest
Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest has been serving students in Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin since 1949. This school year we will reach more than 163,000 students in grades K-12 with financial literacy, career and college readiness, and entrepreneurship education. Junior Achievement programs are implemented by nearly 10,000 volunteers, mostly business professionals, who share their skills and experience to motivate and inspire students to succeed. Learn more at www.jaum.org.
Meda was founded by a group of Minnesota business leaders who saw minority business ownership as a positive, long-term response to rising economic inequity within minority communities in our state. Meda provides business development services, access to capital and corporate and governmental market support for minority entrepreneurs. Over the years, we have helped launch more than 500 minority businesses and assisted more than 20,000 Minnesota minority entrepreneurs to become business owners. Meda operates a growing Community Development Fund Institution (CDFI) that provides needed capital for minority businesses to become sustainable. Meda is also the host organization for the Minnesota Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the Minneapolis Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center. For more information, visit meda.net.
1 2016 United States Report, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor; National Entrepreneurial Assessment for the United States of America. Babson College.
2 2012 Small Business Administration report.