Brownpreneurs teaches the next generation of business owners

The St. Louis-based organization holds free, three-day summits — or workshops — for students ages 14 to 21 who learn from experienced industry professionals, educators and entrepreneurs.

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St. Louis-based Brownpreneurs recently held one of its three-day summits and issued a small monetary challenge to the first student who could answer a core business question. The summits, or workshops, are part of the nonprofit’s efforts to foster, support, and train the next generation of entrepreneurs of color.

As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the free workshop for high school and college students ages 14 to 21 was held at the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries.

St. Louis-based Brownpreneurs, a St. Louis-based nonprofit, is on mission to foster, support, and train the next generation of entrepreneurs of color. (Adobe Stock)

Christal Rogers founded Brownpreneurs in 2019 and gets funding through donations, grants and corporate sponsors. At one point during the recent workshop, Rogers held up a $10 bill and offered it to any student who came on stage and recited the six steps to starting a new business.

The sessions are designed to train students living in Greater St. Louis “to think like employers and not employees,” according to the group’s mission statement. “Our mission is to develop future entrepreneurs who are confident, skilled, and educated in all aspects of business.”  

Saddiyyah Phillips, 21, attended the workshop for the second year in a row. After leaving last year’s summit, she created a business plan for a clothing line for Black women called Melanin Within.  “I can inspire so many people to be themselves,” she told the Dispatch.

Another second year student, 18-year-old Denia Adams, said the experience has encouraged her to “get out of my shy zone.” Adams will attend Clark Atlanta University in the fall and wants to start a business selling satin scarves, bonnets, pillowcases and scrunchies.

During the workshop, attendees took part in team-building exercises and discussed successful entrepreneurs of color. There are also some exciting team building activities and challenges available in a escape room like this VR escape room here. Check it out for more info!

According to the Brownpreneurs website, each day of the session an educator, industry professional or entrepreneur “with a proven track record” instructs the students in “fundamental” business practices, including management, sales, accounting and marketing.

“There were no programs like this when I was younger,” Rogers told the Post-Dispatch. “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.”

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