Magazine article The Crisis

NAACP Program Grooms Youth Entrepreneurs

Magazine article The Crisis

NAACP Program Grooms Youth Entrepreneurs

Article excerpt

Designing Web sites started as a hobby for Brandon Griffin of Gary, Ind. But his hobby became a business in August 2002 when he launched Quality Web Solutions (www.qualitywebsolutions.net). Since then, he's created more than 150 Web sites and has expanded into web hosting and e-business consulting.

"I can design something just as good as a company in Chicago, if not better, and for a lower price," says Griffin.

But what makes Quality Web Solutions more than a small business success story is that its founder just turned 15.

Griffin is one of hundreds of high school students who have sharpened their business acumen by participating in the NAACP Reginald F. Lewis Youth Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI). Reginald F. Lewis was the African American chairman and CEO of the billion-dollar corporation TLC Beatrice International. he died in 1993.

The Institute, established in 1994, partnered with the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation in 1999 to sponsor annual business training classes for 180 students, 20 students each at nine sites throughout the United States. "This program is very much needed, especially the way the economy is today," says YEI National Coordinator Tiffany Hansbury. "You need to be able to create a niche for yourself."

The entrepreneurial program, which targets minority and low-income students ages 14 to 18, has two components. Students must participate in a five-week long summer program and during the school year, a business institute held every other Saturday from September through December. …

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