Youth Entrepreneurship Program Focuses on Food Economy

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Young entrepreneurs will learn about sustainability in the food industry at this year’s Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP).

The summer program for high school students, scheduled July 9-14, will focus on “Building a Better Food Economy.”

“We will explore the industry from multiple perspectives while encouraging the students to create a real or imagined method, process or product to complement the already vast array of concepts in the food industry,” said Cheryl Sutton, YEP program director. “One of the goals is to think beyond the four Bs – bags, boxes, buckets and buffets.”

Feast Down East, a nonprofit organization working to grow the local food system in southeastern North Carolina, is among the group of experts that will interact with students during the week. Feast Down East began in 2006 as a program in UNCW’s Department of Sociology and Criminology. Community engagement and building partnerships to increase community and regional impact are key components of UNCW’s Strategic Plan.

The week-long entrepreneurship program is designed to nurture high school students who have the potential to become leaders in business and the community. Students will work with UNCW college counselors, faculty and entrepreneurs. This year, students will take part in a community service project at a local food bank.

“It is our hope that the project will give the students a sense of social responsibility and get them in the habit of engaging in activities that benefit their community,” Sutton said.

YEP, sponsored by the Cameron School of Business and BB&T, provides young people the opportunity to explore their talents and to leverage them with team-building and leadership skills. Students also learn basic concepts of entrepreneurship and the economy and will interact with entrepreneurs and industry experts. Students will work in teams to create a product that has the potential to improve a specific industry concern.

YEP is open to rising ninth through 12th graders regardless of career interest. The program is limited to 30 students and cost is $75. The deadline to apply is May 26. For more information, contact YEP at

-- Venita Jenkins