Student-Run Businesses Achieve Success Through Virtual Marketplace


Through a program run by Genesee Intermediate School District, YouthQuest students have been selling products at the Flint Young Entrepreneur Market since April.

“Keeping students engaged during the pandemic has been quite a challenge,” says Nefertari Jones, program director of afterschool programming for the Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. “By partnering with GISD’s YEI program our middle school and high school students have been able to stay engaged as well as successfully grow their businesses.”

Through the program, students sell items online that are available to purchasers at the Flint Farmers’ Market on specific pick up days. Students participating in the program have made a combined total of over $3,800 with one more virtual market pick up day in May. Students keep all the money they earn. Some students save the money, some spend it while others invest it back into their business.

Through YouthQuest, students also have the opportunity to participate in the YQ Biz club where they are mentored by Jimantra Grant, program data assistant for YouthQuest.

“We guide students through the process of developing a business,” says Grant. “They come up with product ideas, develop pricing, create marketing plans and are in charge of their business.”

The club, which started at the beginning of the school year, has grown to 11 students and is held after school in a virtual setting. According to Grant, students have grown a lot during the past few months while developing their businesses.

One student in the club, La’Niya McMillan started her business, Luxurious Nails by Niya, selling custom press-on nails and providing nail services.

“It’s been really fun,” says McMillian. “I like how they are helping us get our business out there. It’s a great experience.”

The next pick up day for the virtual market is Saturday, May 8. To purchase items from the local youth entrepreneurs, visit the Flint Young Entrepreneur Market website.

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.