DDC Students in First Generation Entrepreneurs Program Interviewed by BronxNet

DDC students in Columbia Business School Program featured on BronxNet
Daren Jaime: And we're back in an effort to build the next generation of entrepreneurs and Business Leaders the Columbia Harlem Small Business Development Center of Columbia business school is actually hosting a high school training program for a talented group of high school juniors as well as seniors here in New York City and joyous doors now to share more we've got the senior program director of the Small Business Development Center, Pat Lilly; first-generation entrepreneurs program student, Aaliyah Mendoza; and student participant at Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics; Elizabeth Ramirez and we welcome you all to the show and Pat I'll start off with you. A very special way to really get the high schoolers to the next level.

Pat Lily: Yes, thank you thank you for having us we appreciate that, you know the brainchild behind this program is Kaaryn Nailor Simmons, who is the managing director and assistant dean of Community Partnerships at the Columbia business school. We worked with them, we partnered with the Columbia Harlem Small Business Development Center to bring in some of our clients to match with the students after they go through this program and our business advisors after speaking with some of the small businesses, learned that their need was for bookkeeping they had a need for bookkeeping and Kaaryn thought that we had Juniors and seniors work with the business owners they would not only have the steady stream of income but they'd also be able to meet the needs of the business owner.

Daren Jaime: Yeah and I want to ask the question about really the business owners and talk about small businesses and uh these highschool students are going to have an opportunity to support some small businesses out there. What kind of small businesses will they have the ability to support?

Pat Lily: Well we've got food businesses we have clothing and textile Insurance, public relations, we've got construction business as well and I believe I said bird Beauty items and there is one Beauty business owner who lives in the Bronx, her name is Nguzo Agboda and she is a business owner for Yara Shape Beauty and we have another business owner Mario Miguelito who's also from the Bronx and his business is Void Asylum

Daren Jaime: Aaliyah, I want to talk to you for a second because uh you're in the program doing pretty well and talk to us about the program itself and did you have a favorite part of the program in terms of your study and what you were able to attain?

Aaliyah Mendoza: Yes, so the program is to focus on QuickBooks, and to focus on teaching juniors and seniors about how to track their finances so we could track small businesses and their finances. That was actually one of my favorite parts of the program. We were taught by our instructor Tina Smith and she taught us all the basics about QuickBooks it's really new user friendly and everyone of all ages can use the platform so that's what I really liked about the program and the application I think that's really important for people of color, especially the youth, to learn about finance and the many ways that it can be categorized since financial literacy isn't a prominent field of study in our communities. And that was something that really draw me into the program and I'm so happy that I've gotten the opportunity to learn about QuickBooks and guide and advise other small businesses in their financial journey in the next few months so…

Daren Jaime: Yeah Elizabeth, let me talk to you and ask you about the same question. You know, what was the best part for you in terms of the program and what does it really mean to you right now?

Elizabeth Ramirez: So every class that I took taught me many unique things. I really enjoyed the class that I took with Miss Willie May, her class was called “Owning Your Own Brilliance” and in this class I found it to be very interactive as I was able to bond with my peers. She also taught us how to think with an entrepreneurial mindset and I think that helped me realize that you know we are capable of achieving more than what we think we can. Another important thing that she taught us was setting goals to be able to create a personal brand. I was able to use the goals that I created for her class and I implemented [them] into the website developing class that we had with Miss Mara. Miss Mara who is also another incredible person, she taught us how to turn an idea into an identity and that really allowed us to be able to be creative with our website and I find it truly incredible that we were able to turn a simple idea into a functional website and so I really value that.

Daren Jaime: Yeah ladies I'm gonna ask you the question because now that you've had the opportunity to be exposed to these classes, what's next for you in the area of where you want to go?

Aaliyah Mendoza: So I am a senior in high school and around this time seniors are applying to colleges. I’m looking into colleges that have an emphasis on Business and Entrepreneurship so some of the terms that I learned in this program and some of the applications that I learned to use in this program will help me and further my career into college. I'm looking into colleges like Columbia and UPenn that have an emphasis on creativity in business and yeah.

Daren Jaime: Alright, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Ramirez: So as a junior, you know I still have two more years of high school, but I feel like this experience has been an incredible experience. I did have the honor to meet with the business owner who I'm going to be working with and in our previous meeting we discussed the business needs in regards to bookkeeping and so I'm just excited to be able to move forward with her and to be able to assist her and with my bookkeeping skills.

Daren Jaime: Pat it's got to be a great feeling to watch these young ladies and others who participated in the program who really you know you can you can already see and sense that they're on their way and I know that's exactly uh what you want to have happen.

Pat Lily: That's exactly what we wanted to have happen. These two are amazing young ladies we are so proud of them and we have 18 more like them so we're very proud of all of them. The concepts they've progressed throughout this training, and I'm just pleased that they understand what this is all about and how important this is and so proud of the business owners who have come forward and are able to work with these students. Elizabeth talked about her but her

business owner Nguzo, who is also from the Bronx so that's great to have them matched together. Really excited about that.

Daren Jaime: So what happens next? I mean, is there a graduation with accreditation? Do they get diplomas? Certificates? What do they get?

Pat Lily: Well they actually graduated this past Saturday October 22nd, which was also our Manhattanville Community Day. They received a certificate of completion from Columbia Business School so that's very, very exciting to have them do that, and to have the community there to celebrate them as well.

Daren Jaime: Well, Aaliyah, Elizabeth–just know that we celebrate your continued success uh you're on your way and certainly we hope to bring you back and talk more about where you are in the future but you're on the right path and thank you so much for being with us today.

Aaliyah Mendoza: Thank you for having us!

Elizabeth Mendoza: Thank you, yeah

Daren Jaime: Alrighty and Pat it's been great talking to you too.

Pat Lily: Thank you very much Darren, appreciate that.

Daren Jaime: And keep up the great work inspiring our young people. Listen if you want more information you can follow them on Instagram and Twitter @Columbia_biz. Don't go anywhere we will be right back. We've got more open coming up right after this!