It's not often that you get access to the city's top entrepreneurs all in one room -- and even more rare to find them dressed so fashionably. If you want to make yourself heard and the same time you can see and be seen, then you don't want to miss the YouthBiz bash tomorrow night. We caught up with Andy Szekeres, director of development for YouthBiz, to find out more.
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Westword: What is YouthBiz?
Andy Szekers: YouthBiz was founded in 1992, located in the Five Points neighborhood. We teach young people the skills for social and economic prosperity through the study and practice of entrepreneurship. Ninety-seven percent of our students come from low-income families and 98 percent are students of color. We have served over 5,000 youth and generated $1.5 million in youth earnings.
How do kids earn money in YouthBiz? All of the kids in the program are aspiring entrepreneurs; their pay in the program is based on a performance-pay stipend. They can earn up to $500 a semester based on grade-point average and attendance. We have seen a 1.5 percent increase in their GPA and 100 percent enrollment while they are enrolled in our program.
Can you share with us any famous YouthBiz entrepreneurs?
DeeJay is a sixteen-year-old designer who launched Emaune Design, a handmade clutch business. Her clutches have appeared at the 2012 Grammys and were also carried by Arianna Huffington. In 2013, she sold 41 clutches and made $488 in revenue. YouthBiz Bash, what is the party for?
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The Bash is our largest fundraiser. It is 50 percent fashion show and 50 percent networking. The models are from our business community. They select their own outfits from our participating designers and then walk down the runway. This will be a very influential room, the who's who of the entrepreneurial world in Colorado.
Who are some of the folks we can expect to see walking down the runway?
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Just to name a few: Jennifer Wilde, national radio personality; Tami Young, AdvenTech; Todd Filsinger, Filsinger Energy Partners; Mark McIntosh, Victory Productions/Mile High Sports Radio; and, of course, Chris Onan with Galvanize. The YouthBiz Bash will start at 7 p.m. Friday, October 4, at Galvanize, 1062 Delaware Street. VIP tickets are $100 (sold-out) and general admission tickets are $75. Find more information here.