Incubator Progam
SMALL BUSINESS INCUBATOR

Youth Small Business Incubator Pilot Program

This initiative aims to empower them in establishing their businesses by imparting comprehensive skills and knowledge, instilling robust business acumen, and crafting personalized business development plans.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

The goal is to equip Black and minority communities with essential entrepreneurial skills and knowledge.

Entrepreneurship and small business ownership can be an arduous journey for anyone, as they can encounter distinctive challenges in securing resources and opportunities. The National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that black-owned businesses have considerably less access to capital, endure higher interest rates when securing loans, and are more likely to venture into low-growth industries with lower levels of revenue and employment. Compounding these challenges is a dearth of mentorship, networking, and other essential resources that can bolster the success of entrepreneurs.

Considering these hurdles, it is of paramount importance that we introduce black and minority communities to entrepreneurship and small business ownership as early as possible, while implementing a culturally congruent and strengths-based approach that nurtures their inherent potential. The Small Business Incubator pilot program, helmed by the Entrepreneurship Department of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle is poised to serve 20 students from underrepresented communities. This initiative aims to empower them in establishing their businesses by imparting comprehensive skills and knowledge, instilling robust business acumen, and crafting personalized business development plans. Such an approach will empower them to build successful businesses, navigate, and surmount the barriers that many nascent entrepreneurs encounter.

The program seeks to provide an inclusive and supportive environment that allows students to thrive, offering hands-on training and mentorship to foster confidence and essential skills for success in owning and developing a business. This immersive learning experience, carefully designed to equip students with the necessary tools, credentials, and knowledge to excel as business owners. This pilot cohort will consist of a 40-hour curriculum serving 20 students (ages 17+), a size that ensures adequate attention for individual participants while adhering to space and time restrictions. This program not only facilitates economic growth but also strengthens the fabric of our community by fostering an environment that helps our youth thrive further helping them navigate a successful life.

Our curriculum will be focused on providing students with a foundational and comprehensive understanding of business and how to become an entrepreneur. Program participants will also receive an in-depth understanding of the various types of businesses licenses, different industries, and learn business language and acumen, as well as different aspects of supply chain management and hands-on training on building a business. The following modules will be covered:

  1. Business Development: The initial module is an introduction to the world of business. Students will learn the perks and struggles of being business owners. They will begin to identify themselves as entrepreneurs and design a business that aligns with how they identify.
  2. Market and Demographic Research: In this module, students will learn how to identify the right product for their target audience and conduct market research to understand consumer trends and preferences.
  3. Business Planning & Strategy: In this module, students will learn how to create a business plan, design their individual brand identity, set goals, and develop a growth strategy. We will cover topics such as market analysis, target audience identification, & product research.
  4. Business Credentials: Youth will learn to navigate different portals to attain their business license, acquire an EIN number and learn to navigate other portals as well to access funding opportunities, resources for small businesses, and join networks to establish their presence in the local social economy. Youth will now be able to replicate this process and always possess the know-how to acquire their business credentials like a UBI and EIN.
  5. Media & Marketing Development: In this module, students will learn how to create and manage their businesses online social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram. Students will network, learn how to develop content for these platforms, and leverage that network to promote their content and generate sales leads. We will also briefly cover topics such as website design, product listing, inventory management, and payment processing.

 

  1. Niche Market Targeting: In this module, students will learn how to identify their target audience and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly. We will cover topics such as market segmentation, buyer personas, and customer journey mapping. This module will also briefly cover Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so students can take learn how to maximize visibility to their target audience.

To support the curriculum, technology and equipment is required. The deployment of suitable technology and equipment is indispensable. To this end, laptops become a necessity, serving as a gateway for the youth to access internet-based resources, software, and essential subscription services like Shopify, Google Analytics, and other pertinent programs. These instrumental tools will empower students to not only create and administer their businesses, but potentially create their online storefronts, monitor sales, decipher customer data which ultimately enhancing their marketing strategies.

This program is a meticulously initiative designed to serve ambitious entrepreneurial minds and developing small businesses. Every participant embarking on this journey will develop a business plan and earn their business license, Unique Business Identifier number (UBI), and an Employer Identification Number (EIN). As they reach the end of this program, each student is envisioned to have a legitimate business, as well as a live functional business plan and strategy showcasing their unique retail products or services, thereby marking their evolution from learners to budding entrepreneurs. Our goal is to ensure that at least 90% of students who walk this path either kickstart their own small business or, at a bare minimum, possess the wherewithal for future entrepreneurial endeavors or guide others through the intricacies of entrepreneurship.

The core of this program is to equip black and minority communities who have long been social and economically disadvantaged with essential entrepreneurial skills and knowledge, as an effort aimed at levelling the playing field and providing them with the tools for success. The program holds the promise of making a profound impact on those we serve, aligning seamlessly with our mission to nurture and expand black and minority-owned businesses