Music executive, Kevin Liles, joins Verizon's Minority Male Makers program to give middle school boys a lesson in entrepreneurship

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Jessica Thorpe
Minority Makers

Black-owned businesses continue to be one of the fastest growing segments of our economy1, and in an effort to bolster the trend, Verizon’s new Minority Male Makers program is equipping African American boys in four cities across the country with mentors, role models and valuable skills in technology application and entrepreneurship.

One person who champions diversity in STEM and entrepreneurship is African American music executive Kevin Liles. Today, Liles has partnered with Verizon to kick off an HBCU campus tour to share his personal experiences and inspire the next generation of minority business leaders who are participating in the program.

Beginning at Jackson State University, Liles will engage students in a dynamic “Entrepreneurship 101” workshop, where middle school boys will learn how to turn their innovative ideas into profitable business ventures.

Liles will share best practices in pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors and tips on delivering a strong “elevator pitch.” Student teams will then come up with their own creative, tech-focused business ideas and be able to practice their pitching skills with Liles for the chance to win prizes, in a fast paced student pitch competition.

Verizon’s Minority Male Makers is a two-year program that provides minority middle school boys hands-on-learning experiences with advanced technology – from 3D printing to app development software – and mentors who work with them along the way. The goal is to help open the eyes of these young men to the opportunities that technology and entrepreneurship skills could hold for their futures, and put them on a pathway to success.

Launched in the summer of 2015, the program is directed by faculty at four Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Morgan State University, Jackson State University, Kentucky State University and North Carolina A&T – and will reach more than 700 students. Liles will bring his “Entrepreneurship 101” lecture series to all four Minority Male Makers program sites from Dec. 2015 – Jan. 2016.


1.The United States Census Bureau