LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

EmpowerYouth: AI-Driven Entrepreneurship Training

The EmpowerYouth: AI-Driven Entrepreneurship Mindset Training Program aims to empower and equip youth aged 16 to 24, who are not currently engaged in work or school, with the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to become successful certified entrepreneurs. The program leverages the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) training curriculum, culturally affirming volunteer business professionals, and trained teachers from the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) to provide comprehensive support to the participating youth.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Youth Economic Advancement (sponsored by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation)

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Other:: Long Beach; a Gateway City of Los Angles County

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Our project seeks to address economic inequality in LA County. Disadvantaged youth get limited access to economic opportunities due to systemic inequalities and lack of resources. We will address this by providing AI-driven entrepreneurship training as a pathway to economic empowerment and self-sufficiency. In 2022, the youth unemployment rate in the U.S. was 15.9% for Black and 9.7% for Hispanic youth. Our project is specifically for BIPOC youth impacted by the mental and behavioral health, child welfare, and youth justice systems who often struggle to find employment. The project seeks to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to start their own businesses, thereby increasing their chances of acquiring sustainable income. Additionally, limited access to capital is often a significant challenge for disadvantaged youth aspiring to start their own businesses. The project will give participants access to startup capital. 1'

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The Program aims to empower and equip Oppourtunity Youth, with the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to become successful entrepreneurs. The Program is unique in that it takes a two-pronged approach, combining entrepreneurship cerification with the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to assist students in building sustainable businesses that enhance their economic opportunities. 3 cohorts of trainings will take place between October 2023-September 2024 with the participation of 75-105 youth in LA County. The program consists of the following activities: - Certified Entrepreneurship Education: Participants will receive entrepreneurship and mindset trainings and coaching based on the NFTE training curriculum with Certiport. The curriculum will incorporate the use of various AI tools to offer our students a competitive edge and the ability to harness the potential of cutting-edge technologies to develop innovative business solutions. - Support from Professionals: Culturally affirming volunteer business professionals, and trained teachers from LBUSD will provide comprehensive support (mentorship, grant applications, etc.) to participating students. - The Capstone Pitch Competition: Students will have the opportunity to showcase their business ideas before a panel of judges comprising industry professionals, investors, and community leaders to help them refine their pitching skills, gain exposure, and potentially secure funding for their ventures.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Over the next 5 years LA County will: - Experience entrepreneurial activity and economic growth through a new generation of 75-105 young certified entrepreneurs, creating businesses, generating employment opportunities, and contributing to the local economy. - See a reduction in youth unemployment as 75-105 youth would become self-employed or create job opportunities for themselves and others, reducing the region's overall youth unemployment rate. - Experience improved quality of life as the living conditions for the participating youth and their families improve. In the short term, the project will create 75-105 financially self-sufficient youth who can cover their basic needs, access healthcare, and education, and possess critical thinking, effective communication and problem-solving skills benefiting them in the workplace and beyond.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The proposed training is a more advanced version of our Futurepreneur Biz Camps that we have been offering diverse youth in Long Beach. When we measured success in the past, we found that 100% of participants had positive opinions about the program, and 80% of participants took steps to start their own businesses within one year of project completion. Every year thousands of NFTE curriculum learners launch successful small businesses. Many program alumni continue to run their NFTE businesses long after they graduate. The proposed project is more advanced in that it incorporates AI tools. Success will be measured through participant surveys, and follow-up calls. Our success indicators include: - 100% favorable feedback from participants - 100% enhanced capacity through skills development - 90% of youth that participate in the program launch their businesses within one year of project completion - 90% of participants gain access to capital to launch their businesses

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 105

Indirect Impact: 525

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

We do not have an official collaborator on this project. However, some of the entities that we will partner with include: - Local neighborhood associations in Los Angeles County, Pacific Gateway, and The Long Beach Office of Youth Development will help us recruit and identify youth that may be eligible for this program. - Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) will help us identify trained teachers that can teach program participants about entrepreneurship and the utilization of AI technology. - The Long Beach Community College will assist us with the hosting of our program activities and trainings on their site, and provide access to their computer labs. - Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship is the curriculum developer with over 30 years of successful national programing.