A nonprofit based in St. Louis is teaching and training the next generation of young Black entrepreneurs, giving them the tools to control their destiny.
Brownpreneurs recently held a three-day entrepreneurial workshop pushing to nurture the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs. The workshop covered accounting, marketing, operations, and sales.
The sessions were taught by experienced professionals and the programs were designed to arm students with the business acumen and economic tools to become successful entrepreneurs.
The nonprofit serves both high school and college students. Saddiyyah Phillips, 21, attended the workshop for the second year in a row. According to the St. Louis Dispatch, Phillips left the first workshop inspired, developing a business plan for a clothing line for African American women called Melanin Within.
In addition to providing Black women with clothing they can be proud to wear, “I can inspire so many people to be themselves,” Phillips told the Dispatch.
As part of the workshop, which took place at the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries, Brownperneurs founder Christal Rogers made her students get on stage and discuss an entrepreneur. At one point Rogers held up a $10 bill. Any of the students could take the bill, but first, they had to recite the six steps to starting a new business.
Rogers founded Brownpreneurs in 2019; the annual teen summit is its flagship event. The summit is free for students ages 14 to 21 and is funded through donations, grants, and corporate sponsors.
The Brownpreneurs founder told the Dispatch she always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but had trouble finding the resources and information she needed to start a business, something many minority entrepreneurs experience.
“There were no programs like this when I was younger,” Rogers said. “I really feel like I had to beg people to give me the information, and teach me what I didn’t know. I really wanted to give students the support I never had.”
There has been a significant focus on Black businesses and entrepreneurs since the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement. Large banks have partnered with Black banks. Large retail chains have begun selling and promoting small Black businesses and their products and many are helping small Black businesses scale up through accelerators.