Youth Business Enterprise is a unique program established in 2015 through the inspiration of a small group of youth participating in UPAC’s Alliance for Community Empowerment program. These youth, including six Southeast Asian refugees and 4 youth on probation, recognized that they were facing significant barriers to attaining self-sufficiency in adulthood, including poverty, limited English proficiency and poor academic achievement. With two small grants, a strong dedication, and willingness to learn, these youth and their staff mentors created a print shop operation, designing and selling t-shirts, mugs, window lettering, shopping bags, and cell phone covers.
Since its inception, YBE has generated so much interest that it has grown from the original group of 10 youth, to an annual participation of over 70 low-income youth living in the City Heights region of San Diego.
Three of the founding members are now part-time employees, and YBE’s scope of work has evolved as well, starting out as a print shop and expanding to include a thriving catering business whose menu reflects the diversity of City Heights. Program staff have developed a 16 -hour formal curriculum and a 20-hour hands-on experiential learning experience in the kitchen and print shop, with graduates having access to paid apprenticeships. The workshop covers all aspects of starting a small business and includes making a “Shark Tank” presentation at the end of the course.
Through YBE, youth learn how to cook and create items in the print shop, and more importantly, that they can be entrepreneurs and exceptional employees with no limits to what they can do. YBE incites inspiration, motivation, and success. As a social enterprise endeavor, YBE youth are encouraged to use some of the program’s revenue to give back to their community by participation in neighborhood cleanup and feeding the homeless.
Funded by: AT&T, Price Philanthropies, SDG&E and Wells Fargo
Program Supervisor: Dante Dauz, BS, JD
5348 University Ave., Suite F202
San Diego, CA 92105
Phone #: (619) 265-2772
Fax#: (619) 265-2409