By Keith L. Forest
On Saturday June 4th, eight Brooklyn based youth entrepreneurs from the Build an Empire program unveiled their Brooklyn Creative Market Popup Shop. The youth run and operated affair took place on the scenic rooftop of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Over 65 young vendors showed up to peddle their creations, services and startup solutions. The event also featured live performances from a variety of talented young performers, live paintings and creative demonstrations and exhibitions. Sponsored by Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Coca Cola, Kiva, Project Enterprise, the affair attracted over 500 patrons aided in generating over $20,000 in sales.
Headed by Brooklyn Based entrepreneur Lloyd J. Cambridge, former Director of NYC Business Solution Center, “Build An Empire” was funded with a grant by Brooklyn Community Foundation and received support from Bridge Street Development Corp., Council Member Robert Cornegy, New Visions Charter School, Mott Hall Academy, Kiva and Project Enterprise. “We need to focus on developing the entrepreneurial spirit in our young people,” stated City Councilman Robert E. Cornegy. “They need to understand that this is their neighborhood and they can live here, work here, own a piece of the pie, and yes start an empire.”
Build an Empire is the brainchild of Brooklyn based entrepreneur Lloyd J. Cambridge, who heads up Progress Playbook, an entrepreneur and startup educational consortium that supports dreamers, believers and doers build businesses that impact the world. Currently in its beginning stages, the program takes eight to ten individuals through an intense 10-week training program where they collaborate with a team of entrepreneurs, influencers and experts that aids the students in starting and operating a business. students learn basic skills in product development, marketing, finance and operations while coming up with creative ways to solve real world problems that present a business opportunity.
The affair culminates with the Creative Market popup shop. The popup shop provides participants a chance to market and sell their goods and service while offering them an opportunity to earn income and qualify to win a $1,000 grand prize to help support the launch of their own business. “Helping young people actualize their dreams their way and giving them access to quality resources to thrive in business will create a better Brooklyn and better world for us all,” stated Cambridge.
The inaugural winner of the Build an Empire program was designer Aliyah Paterson. Paterson, who attends Urban Action Academy will use her $1,000 grand prize to launch her startup fashion line Riot Girl. In addition to the cash prize, Paterson will receive support from a team of expert who will assist her in developing, starting and successfully running her new venture. “The experience I received in the Start an Empire project taught me that with access to the right networks, hard work and focus all things are possible”, said Paterson. “I look forward to growing my business with the information, network and resources that I gained through the project.”