Part trendsetter, social media expert and influencer, teens bring innate abilities and energy. It’s ingrained in their DNA. And now, thanks to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeasern Michigan (BGCSM) and its partners, talented teens will have the opporunity to marry their natural abilities with business opportuntieis in an effort aimed at building Michigan’s creative class.
Coined the ‘Industry Club,” this first-of-its-kind initiative will provide participants interest in retail or fashion merchandising with an “immersive” summer and after-school experience for young people.
A number of stakeholders in fashion districts like Flint, hope to see the intiative expand in other urban centers.
Lke most things. Location matters.
And the program’s location is sure to be a part of the program’s draw, according to organizers. With an address like Detroit is the New Black (DITNB), the Industry Club expects to draw hundreds of interested youth to fill 200 employment slots.
Candidates will be selected among youth ages 14 and up, according to organizers.
“True equality can only be achieved through economic and social mobility and the Industry Club is designed to do just that,” says Shawn H. Wilson, the program’s lead partner and President & CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan.
Youth will gain the economic, cultural and social capital needed to become college, career and start up ready, according to Wilson, who credits Bedrock, Ponyride and DITNB for assembling the resources necessary to sustain the program.
It will be an incubator among incubators.
Since Détroit is the New Black opened its flagship store in 2016, the signature clothing brand has helped a number of fledging fashion-based businesses take root. The combination of complimentary retail floor space, access to retail experts and loyal customers is a winning one, according to its principals who readily agreed to support the Industry Club.
Another program partner, Ponyride, will provide brick-and-mortar, and e-commerce support to local women and entrepreneurs of color.
Supporters will select the best concepts to showcase in increments of five. The organizer behind the winning concept will be invited to shocase their goods alongside DITNB in its historic Woodward Shopping District, and offer online sales through detroitisthenewblack.com.
“The Industry Club is a dream manifested for us and a perfect example of community partners coming together to support the future of the city,” says Roslyn Karamoko, founder of Détroit is the New Black, who is excited to have the opporutnity to uplift entrepreneurs and minorities in business.
Bedrock announced that it will conttirubte a rent free location, in addition to a $25,000 operational grant and long-term skilled volunteer support.