BrookLynk Helps Youth Pursue Entrepreneurial Dreams
A program in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center is helping area youth kickstart their small businesses.
The BrookLynk Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) introduces young people to small business ownership tools.
The program — which is a joint offering between the cities of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center — is available to youth ages 16 to 24 who live or go to school in either city. Participants meet up on Wednesdays while the course is in session.
Madison Hurst, program coordinator, said Brooklynk began offering YEP in 2021.
“We have a lot of young people in the area who are interested in starting their own business,” Hurst said. “So, [we] actually give them concrete examples with networking with small business owners. And [we’re] also helping them start their small businesses and make sure they are doing it in a way that makes sense for their specific area.”
This week, program participants got the chance to tour Brooklyn Park’s new Small Business Center. Students asked questions about the space and envisioned what it would look like for them to work there.
Brooklynk Offers Steps to Success
Maya Foster is one of the students taking part in YEP. She’s 17 years-old and is hoping to start a button business.
She said the program is helping her find a focus and understand her demographic.
“It’s helped me set realistic goals — It’s not as easy as having the dream and buying the materials and going from there,” Foster said. “You actually have to look into stuff and do research on it.”
American Rescue Plan Act funds pay for YEP. Participants like Foster are paid a $50 stipend after attending each weekly session, and $300 extra if they attend all six sessions.
The larger program teaches business principles in four phases: the foundation of entrepreneurship, creating a business pitch deck, a shark tank event and internships.
Hurst said 17 people participated in the Shark Tank event, and all of them received funding for their businesses.
The fall cohort is already underway. A second fall phase runs through Nov. 15.
The spring cohort begins Feb. 14.
More information on BrookLynk’s website.