Annual Summer Market Inspires Young Entrepreneurs

WARREN, Ohio – School-age children took on the responsibilities of entrepreneurship through the second annual Inspiring Minds Summer Market at Mollenkopf Stadium.

Inspiring Minds conducts a summer-long program for children in grades three through 12. This summer the focus was on entrepreneurship. Groups were tasked with creating business ideas and planning all necessary logistics for their business. This included creating a budget, marketing their products, creating their products, setting prices and, ultimately, selling them.

Last year the market was open to only parents and family members, but because of positive feedback, the general public was allowed to attend and buy items this year.

Jalaya Provitt, a program instructor for Inspiring Minds, said there were about 250 kids with 30 businesses at the market. From apparel to food, the kids were selling it all.

“It exposes them to different things. A lot of these kids probably never thought they’d have their own businesses and be selling something,” Provitt said. “For us, it’s important for them to see – from start to finish – what it’s like to run a business. A lot of them said they’d like to own a business when they get older so they can experience that firsthand.”

Even for kids not pursuing business after high school, the summer program and event is beneficial for children of all ages.

Jalaya Provitt, a program instructor for Inspiring Minds, assisted the young entrepreneurs with their businesses.

“It’s important to show them that the community supports [the program] and the kids,” Provitt said. “When they see their teachers, their friends, their family – it gives the kids that extra boost to keep going.”

That Chicken Shack, which was selling fried chicken, fries and various sauces, was one of the food businesses at the market. Beside its tent were fryers, seasoning and extra supplies to keep up with the demand. 

Cordae Diggs, a That Chicken Shack entrepreneur, said his group came up with the idea, and with the help of Inspiring Minds, it came to fruition. 

“We wanted to do something bigger than the other businesses, and everyone loves fried chicken. So it’s perfect,” Diggs said. “It’s great being in Inspiring Minds. You get to do fun things, visit fun places and go on college tours. They really acknowledge you here.”

Braylin Dyson, a high school senior, and his group came up with an original apparel business, Young & Elevated. They created the name and the design with an unusual message on the back, “My goals are beyond your understanding.”

“No one is going to understand your goals like how you understand them. We’re all on a different path, so no one else will understand your own way but you,” Dyson said. “We wanted to get that message across to our community and to elevate them.”

Young & Elevated was selling original custom apparel at the market. From left are Wayne Harris, Braylin Dyson, Micah Morgan, Ta’jon Williamson and Toussaint Blake.

Dyson and the other members of his group plan on becoming entrepreneurs. Dyson has a goal to open his own gym one day.

Saliyah Parker’s group was selling hats with an “IM” logo. The hats at Cap Shack sold for $20 each in various colors and styles. Parker printed the “IM” on the hats for her group.

“This is my third year with Inspiring Minds, and last year actually inspired me to start selling stuff. I want to eventually sell my own jackets,” Parker said.

Pictured at top: That Chicken Shack was one of the food businesses at the market. From left, in Inspiring Minds shirts, are Nas Fuller, Cordae Diggs, Ja’leah Provitt and James Jones-Moore.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.