The Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center is adding a new class for budding entrepreneurs.
The Little Boardroom: Entrepreneurship for Kids is a series of four February workshops for children ages 6 to 12 years old.
Each class costs $12.50 or $45 for the entire series. Register here.
The goal? For each child to have a business of their own in a matter of weeks.
“I was already offering them to adults,” said Ateba Gaines, the course instructor. “I wanted to offer a class to the kids as well.”
“They’re more creative than adults,” she added.
Gaines holds her doctorate in entrepreneur leadership from Johns Hopkins University. She said she wants the class to be a fun, safe learning environment for children.
Her daughter, Jewel, 12, will be taking the class as well and has already started a couple of businesses, including a dog grooming business, a morning program for children and Luna Blue Denim, a business that re-designs and sells old jeans with profits going to no-kill shelters and other pet saving organizations.
When Gaines taught the class at Stanford University, the kids started with a problem and the goal was to create a business to solve it.
The course will teach children the principles of marketing a product or a service, website development and how to give back to the community.
Most of the work will be done at home, Gaines added.
“It creates an opportunity for people to hear your story,” Gaines said. “I’m teaching them college level material. I’m not sugar coating it.”
This isn’t the only class Gaines teaches in Newport News.
She is the founder of two nonprofits: Unreasonable Kids, which provides entrepreneurship classes for children, and Shoe Revolt, which sells shoes and uses the funds to combat human trafficking through education and activism.
She also teaches Art Entrepreneurship at the cultural arts center and social entrepreneurship classes at Denbigh Community Center and Brooks Crossing Innovation & Opportunity Center where students look at a social problem and design a product solution.
Future plans for Gaines include starting a marketing professor position at Thomas Nelson Community College in the spring and hosting a “mock Ted talk” for kids at Tidewater Community College over the summer.
“This is what I love,” Gaines said. “I did try to do a 9 to 5 but I turned into a skeleton and I almost died.”
The Little Boardroom: Entrepreneurship for Kids is at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center, 2410 Wickham Ave., during the month of February.