The Underline’s Budding Entrepreneur Program Sprouts Student Success

June 18, 2021
by Meg Daly

Helping Teens Grow Their Big Business Ideas

Miami teens are learning valuable lessons, the challenges and successes of operating their business on The Underline’s first phase in Brickell. Whether it’s how to market your products online, how to keep your ice cold, or just how to keep your workspace clean, these teens are experiencing the real life challenges of launching a business in one of the busiest areas in Miami. Funded through a Children’s Trust Innovation grant, The Underline’s Budding Entrepreneur program is cultivating teen entrepreneurs from traditionally underserved neighborhoods to realize their business dreams. With the help of a 16-week Miami-Dade College dual enrollment entrepreneurial class, teens wrote their own business plan, pitched them to a group of independent judges and then competed to launch their business in The Underline’s Brickell Backyard. From nostalgic snow-cones, to do it yourself bird feeder art kits, to creating your own tie-die shirt, all teen proposals demonstrated a creative intensity and passion for starting their own business.

Once the winners were selected, the real work began. The winning business ideas had to develop their own marketing plan, refine their budget, purchase supplies and then launch their business on The Underline.

“This has been an amazing opportunity and I’m so excited to meet all my new customers,” said Malik Rolle, CEO of Ice Cold Youth and student at Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School. During their launch, several businesses had to re-order supplies due to the heavy demand. At the end of their summer experience and after reviews by the Beacon Council’s New Leader Task Force, one winning business owner will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship toward their college education.

“Through the Budding Entrepreneur’s program, teens are empowered to take risks, explore their passions and learn from failure,” said President and CEO James R. Haj, of The Children’s Trust. “We are proud to support these valuable experiences that help students prepare for their journey to college.”

The Children’s Trust grant funded the staffing of the MDC Entrepreneurial classes, the fabrication of a business kiosk to house the Budding Entrepreneurs, supplies to support each business, and marketing and facilities support to help ensure each business has a foundation from which to grow.

“We are so honored to be the venue where these businesses take flight,” said Meg Daly, CEO and Founder, Friends of The Underline. “The Underline’s goal has always been to serve as the community’s learning lab and the Budding Entrepreneurs program has allowed all of us to learn from each other.”

Enjoy these innovative products on The Underline, just north of the Brickell Metrorail station, from now through early August. For each businesses’ schedule, please visit: theunderline.com/events

About The Underline
The Underline is a planned 10-mile urban trail, linear neighborhood park and public art destination that will span from the Miami River, north of Brickell Metrorail station, to Dadeland South. The Underline project will feature dedicated bike and pedestrian paths, amenities, art, programming, lighting, native vegetation, as well as safety features and improvements at road crossings. The Underline will be built in phases, the first of which will begin in the Brickell area. For more information, visit www.theunderline.org and/and @theunderlinemia on social media.

About The Children’s Trust
The Children’s Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.

About Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College is the most diverse institution in the nation. There are 167 nations and 63 languages represented in its student body. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways including associate and baccalaureate degrees, career certificates and apprenticeships. Baccalaureate degree offerings include biological sciences, engineering, data analytics, information systems technology, education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film and others. MDC is the recipient of many top national awards including the Aspen Prize. As Democracy’s College, MDC changes lives through accessible, high quality-teaching and learning experiences. It is the home of the Miami Culinary Institute, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, the Miami Fashion Institute, the Eig-Watson School of Aviation, The Idea Center, the Cybersecurity Center of the Americas, the Cloud Computing Center, the Center for Learning, Innovation and Simulation, the School for Advanced Studies, and the New World School of the Arts, to name a few of its most innovative programs. MDC has been named among the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” since the program’s inception. The College embraces its responsibility to serve as an economic, cultural, and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community. Its alumni and employees contribute more than $3 billion annually to the local economy, and MDC graduates occupy top leadership positions in every major industry. MDC is renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is the home of the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, the Tower Theater, Dyer Building, Koubek Center Mansion and Gardens, Live Arts Miami at MDC, the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives, the Museum of Art and Design, a sculpture park and a large campus art gallery and theater system. MDC has admitted more than 2,000,000 students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960. More than 100,000 students are currently enrolled. For more information, visit www.mdc.edu.