Young offenders get chance to turn lives around, become entrepreneurs

South Florida Biz Camp teaches young men how to create business plans, pitch

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Young offenders are getting a chance to turn their lives around thanks to a summer camp that is helping young men learn how to become entrepreneurs and so much more.

At the end of the camp, the students must present their business idea along with a marketing plan.

The camp is made possible through The Children's Trust, Miami-Dade Public Schools and the Citi Foundation.

South Florida Biz Camp teaches young men how to write a business plan and be ready to pitch it to a panel in four weeks.

Many of the young entrepreneurs-in-training were once headed down a different path.

Vernon Clark came to the camp because of a court order, but he said it’s changed everything.

"To be honest, I don’t know where I would be. I would be in jail probably still," Clark said.

Now 21 and employed, Clark is recovering from a gunshot wound to the foot after he was recently shot near his house.

Like many of his fellow campers, the program is a safe haven from the inner city streets.

Colleen Adams founded Empowered Youth to help young people like Clark.

"The goal is to take a valuable young person and reassure him of his value, so that he understands, 'I have meaning, my life has meaning, I have purpose,'" she said.

The camp is put on with the help of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

"The goal is to provide them with a set of skills so they can go out and create their own pathways and open up their own doors to do that," Janine Schloss, of NFTE, said. 

With Chef Chica and her crew, the young entrepreneurs run the only non-profit food truck in Miami.

While serving up delicious food, the students get a chance to take what they have learned in the classroom and take it to the streets.

"Nobody here wants you to fail, they only want you to succeed," aspiring entrepreneur Brian Louis said. "If you fail, that is only on your own cause. There are so many hands given out to you. It’s typically impossible to fail."


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