YQ Biz: Teens Working Toward Becoming Business Owners

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Teens in Genesee County are learning how to start their own business along with other valuable skills such as financial literacy in YQ Biz.

The program, in partnership with Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) and Youth Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI), runs through the school year and teaches middle and high school students the ins and outs of creating products and services, building a business plan, marketing the business and more.

“We are excited to be to the YQ Biz program again this year,” says Willie Buford, associate program director for YouthQuest. “The program is preparing students by instilling an entrepreneurial mindset that will help serve them in the future, no matter what career path they take.”

The YQ Biz program is hosted through YouthQuest at four sites: Accelerated Learning Academy, Holmes STEM Academy, International Academy of Flint and Southwestern Classical Academy with an additional online option for students at other schools in the county.

The two biggest elements in the YQ Biz program are learning how to pitch a business and learning how to sell a product. These elements are taught early on, then are put to the test as students participate in Shark Tank-style competitions through the program, as well as other competitions both in person and virtually. Through these competitions, students have the chance to win cash prizes and other awards.

Additionally, students are able to sell their products through an online store launching after the holidays and through the YQ Biz Market Days held at the Flint Farmers’ Market. The Market Days allow students to sell their products and services directly to customers. During these days, students also learn other elements of business such as managing money and customer service. Market Days will be held in 2023 on February 11, March 11, April 8 and May 6.

Beyond that, students get to experience new things through field trips to 100k Ideas, Factory Two, the Flint Farmers’ Market and the NextGen Summit in New York City. During these field trips, students will meet people who can help them develop their business ideas.

The YQ Biz program runs through May 20, 2023. The program ends with the final pitch competition and banquet for students who have made it through earlier pitch competitions throughout the year. At the event, students are able to compete one last time using everything they learned throughout the year.

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