February 17, 2020

The University of North Texas at Dallas’ Urban SERCH Institute and Stars United Global Outreach, a southern Dallas nonprofit founded by UNT Dallas alumna Star Williams, have teamed up to prepare students to not only become job seekers, but job creators through entrepreneurship training.

The Blueprint for Success Entrepreneurship Program (BFSP) seeks to provide local youth with life and leadership skills through strong mentors, role models and tools to start and grow a small business.

“This partnership provides a unique opportunity to empower a generation of future leaders to acquire the knowledge and skills of entrepreneurship to help build viable and resilient communities,” UNT Dallas Urban SERCH Institute executive director James Agbodzakey said. “The opportunity for financial literacy blended with community leadership and community-centric enterprise solutions is integral to this partnership, and is inextricably intertwined with UNT Dallas’ mission to empower students, transform lives and strengthen communities.”

The intensive community program is held on the UNT Dallas campus for students ages 10-18 and their families. It is conducted over four, eight-week phases that take students through the entire process of starting a business. Participants are selected through neighboring schools, partnership events and social media advertising.

The first cohort in this partnership started the initial phase in January, and will complete all phases in September. Recruitment for the next cohort will begin in October.

“This partnership will allow us to reach the southern Dallas community where I grew up,” Williams said. “Partnering with UNT Dallas helps us bridge the gap between our kids in the community graduating from high school and students graduating from college.”

According to the Small Business Administration, about two-thirds of small businesses survive at least two years, and about half survive at least five years. This partnership seeks to increase the survival rate through proven methods such as coaching and mentoring students through the entire business plan process.

“Studies indicate how important entrepreneurship is as it relates to decreasing both the unemployment and poverty rate among our youth,” Williams said. “We believe that the anecdote to poverty is the creation of opportunities.”