Minding Our Business, a community outreach project organized by the College of Business Administration at Rider University, will be able to offer its summer programming thanks to a handful of recent grants, including a $43,000 from the Walmart Foundation.
“The recent funding follows on the heels of a $25,000 grant from the foundation last year. Without the $43,000 there would be no summer program,” said Dr. Sigfredo Hernandez, who co-founded MOB in 1997 and serves as the director. “Walmart is expanding to urban areas and sees MOB as an excellent program for urban youth.”
M.O.B., which offers spring, summer and advanced programs, seeks to advance the personal and vocational development of Trenton youth, ages 10 to 14, through entrepreneurship and mentoring by Rider students. During the summer, participants receive training for two weeks on how to start and run a business. All students are required by the end of the training to produce a plan for their business idea. In addition, to developing business skills, participants improve their reading, writing and math skills.
“This is a very beneficial program for the youth of Trenton. This is a program that advances their development,” Hernandez said.
The recent Walmart grant will cover the first session, which began June 26, and a portion of the second session of the summer program. In addition, MOB received a $15,000 grant from Princeton Area Community Foundation (PACF) and a $7,500 grant from advisory board member Harry Rose.
“These two gifts made the second session of the 2011 MOB Summer Program possible. That means that 30 Trenton middle school students and their families will benefit from these two generous contributions from PACF and Harry,” Hernandez said. “I owe thanks to Dr. Doreen Blanc, director of Corporate/Foundation Relations, for paving the way for us to be able to apply and obtain the $15,000 grant from PACF for a third year in a row. I also would like to thank our advisory board member Calvin Thomas for always advocating for MOB with the PACF.”
Additional donors of the summer program include Prudential; Union Baptist; Jean and Bill Kutcher.
Rider University will host the 2011 MOB Business Plan Competition on Wednesday, August 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Sweigart Hall Auditorium on the Lawrenceville campus. The competition will feature 30 participants, ages 10 to 13, from Trenton public schools, as part of the MOB Summer Program at Rider. During the program, participants receive 14 days of training on how to plan and run a business. All students in the program are required by the end of the training to produce a plan for their business idea. On August 3, the students with the 10 best plans will compete for these top awards: $100 for first place, $75 for second place, $50 for third place, and other prizes for fourth and fifth place.
Business leaders from the Trenton Metropolitan Area will judge the students’ business plans. This year’s event will recognize and celebrate Prudential for their long-term commitment and support of the Minding Our Business Summer Program.