JaKathryn Ross leads Dare to Dream, shares success of youth entrepreneurs’ program

JaKathryn Ross 2x

High school students from Atlanta Public Schools took part in Dare to Dream, an event for Youth Entrepreneurs® Georgia (YEG) students, marking the successful completion of the yearlong classroom portion of the program. A nonprofit, YEG aims to inspire students to utilize creativity, follow their passions, and learn about the importance of making good choices in their lives. The event was held at Coca-Cola’s global headquarters on Friday, May 10.

The Dare to Dream event included workshops – Business Etiquette, Managing Electronic Communications, Dining Etiquette, Dressing for Success – and a business expo where more than 160 students were exposed to a number of careers in an effort to help them identify the skills and education needed to succeed. Companies that participated in this career-enhancing event included The Coca-Cola Company, Oglethorpe Power, Fifth Third Bank, and University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.


JaKathryn Ross, executive director of Youth Entrepreneurs Georgia, took a little time out from the event to share background information and tells which schools are adding the program for the 2013-14 school year.

Please share a little background information on YEG.
Youth Entrepreneurs® Georgia is a business education program that we teach in high schools. We are helping them to become productive citizens and to improve the community. We are helping them to think like entrepreneurs and to have an entrepreneurial mindset. We want them to apply it in their business and their personal lives. We want this to extend beyond the class.


How is the curriculum developed?
We use the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) curriculum and add to their curriculum with experiential activities. For example, we take students on field trips. We’ve brought students to Coca-Cola to talk about the science of developing beverages so they understand that it’s actually a process.

Which school systems participate?
Currently, we are in Atlanta Public Schools. We are expanding to three high schools in DeKalb County for the 2013-14 school year: Columbia, Cross Keys and Tucker High Schools.

Who is one of your success stories?
JuShawn Carter, she has a business called Cakes by Fourteen. She had already started the business when she came into the class. It was a hobby and we taught her how to run it as a business, how to understand her costs and profitability. She now has a business plan, a marketing plan and a strategy.

What core skills do you want the kids to takeaway?

  • Understand that opportunity costs – you have to give up something to get something
  • How to best utilize your time and your resources for what you’re trying to accomplish
  • How to weigh long-term benefits
  • Be critical thinkers and know how to research

We are really trying to build on their character traits, for them to think ethically, to understand how to take calculated risks and how to quantify those risks. The end game is for them to take responsibility for their success.

How do you define “entrepreneurial mindset?”
Being a risk taker, being innovative and being productive. Entrepreneurship isn’t just about making money. It is about serving others.

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