Wake County Social & Economic Vitality Launches First Youth Cohort Aimed at Empowering Young Entrepreneurs

Wake County Social & Economic Vitality (SEV) is excited to launch the first youth cohort of the Empowering Entrepreneurs and Seeding Innovation (EEASI) Challenge. Thirteen high-school aged youth from across Southeast Raleigh and eastern Wake County will participate in a two-week virtual cohort designed to spark entrepreneurial thinking and strengthen skills for collective problem-solving, setting them up for long-term personal and professional success.

Week one of the program, taught by Ryan Ray of Triangle Entrepreneurial Leadership, will emphasize entrepreneurship as an essential life skill that can be applied to a wide range of situations in life, beyond just business development. Week two, taught by Kat Jackson of District C and Amanda Salami of Social & Economic Vitality, will use District C’s program model to emphasize team-building and collective problem-solving. At the end of the week, teams will propose solutions to real business problems offered by Fertile Ground Food Cooperative and the Black Flea Market. The program will conclude with a virtual graduation to celebrate participants’ accomplishments throughout the program.

Members of the inaugural Youth EEASI Challenge Cohort include:

  • Burhan Baloch, Triangle School of Math and Science
  • Nikera Davis, Garner Magnet High School
  • Kalib Heath, Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School
  • Nevaeh Jones, East Wake Academy
  • Joniqua Major, South Garner High School
  • Tabitha Newsome, Garner Magnet High School
  • Jeremy Sanders, Enloe High School
  • Terrell Southerland, Broughton High School
  • Noaah Speller, Enloe High School
  • Camille Trapp, East Wake High School
  • Khadija Tunkara, South Garner High School
  • Azzariah Williams, Enloe High School
  • Giovanni Wright, South Garner High School

“We are thrilled to work with an awesome group of partners to bring this program to youth in the community. It’s a great opportunity for youth to engage in personal growth, strengthen critical thinking skills, and build relationships with peers, mentors and businesses,” said Verna P. Best, Program Manager for Wake County Social & Economic Vitality.

“What makes this program significant is that it was orchestrated under the leadership of our Social and Economic Vitality VISTA," said Dynasty Winters, a native of Southeast Raleigh.

This program is made possible by a City of Raleigh Impact Partner Grant and additional funding from Wake County. Other program partners include:

  • Carolina Small Business Development Fund
  • City of Raleigh Housing & Neighborhoods Department
  • Crosby Advocacy Group
  • District C
  • Kramden Institute
  • North Carolina State University Center for Family & Community Engagement
  • Southeast Raleigh Community Engagement
  • R.B. Moore Solutions LLC
  • Triangle Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Wake Technical Community College

About N.C. Cooperative Extension-Wake County
N.C. Cooperative Extension-Wake County Center is a member of North Carolina Cooperative Extension and is a strategic partnership of NC State Extension, The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T State University, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), and local governments statewide. NC State and N.C. A&T. Educational programs specialize in agriculture, food and nutrition, 4-H youth development, community development and the environment.

Social and Economic Vitality (SEV) Manager Verna Best serves citizens of Wake County in vulnerable communities through partnerships and leadership programs to foster relationships and build up vulnerable communities in Wake County. Any inquiries should be directed to Verna Best, SEV Program Manager, at verna.best@wakegov.com or Allyson Farmer, Communication Specialist, at Allyson.Farmer@wakegov.com.

Press Release