Welcome to the Bridges to Wealth (B2W) blog & podcast series that explores the culture of entrepreneurship, financial freedom, and community. B2W is a non-profit organization based in the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships and on a mission to build communities of wealth, in Philly, and beyond!
Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson (Entrepreneurs and Founders of Action Not Words) stopped by the Bridges To Wealth office to talk about Project Elevate, entrepreneurship, and Philly. Plus, they talked with, three 12th graders from Paul Robeson High School and the B2W Youth Entrepreneurship Incubator, Aliah Harris, Kayla Daniels Redden, and Siani Ross.
Donte and Rashon are the two men who were wrongfully arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks in April of 2018. They have decided to take that bad situation and turn it into something good. Donte and Rashon are launching a program called Project Elevate, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and the Netter Center’s Bridges To Wealth program, that will help public high school students in Philadelphia learn about entrepreneurship.
Donte and Rashan decided to create Project Elevate because they understand the difficulty for Philly youth to become business owners. Instead of just taking the money that could come from a settlement with the city of Philadelphia, they wanted to help others with it. They want to share their passion for entrepreneurship and teach youth the importance of ownership. Donte and Rashon want youth to realize that they can start early to take small steps to achieve the type of success that they want, build generational wealth and live their ideal life.
Donte and Rashon came up with the name Project Elevate because it’s something that they live by every day. Furthermore, elevating is about improving yourself as an individual and aligning with your goals. Project Elevate will initially start out in two Philly public high schools and will likely expand to more schools over time. Donte and Rashon envision this project building a community, with alumni in it, that can come together for years and help each other elevate and accomplish their dreams. After they see how the first year goes they will begin to look for investors so the program can be sustained for the long term. Through Project Elevate and entrepreneurship in West Philly, Donte and Rashan hope that parents and schools will see the value in entrepreneurship and teaching students about financial literacy and wealth.
Entrepreneurship is not an easy path to take and students will be judged and criticized by others for pursuing this journey. Donte and Rashon have a message for aspiring student entrepreneurs. No matter what students do in life they will be judged and criticized, so don’t let that stop you from chasing after your dreams. There are so many people out there who want you to succeed. Believe in yourself and what you’re doing. Don’t ever stop, just keep going and own it. Remember your success ultimately comes down to you, you are the one that can make it happen or make it not happen. Follow your intuition and stay true to yourself and what you want to do. It’ll be worth it. With entrepreneurship, you have all types of freedom. Freedom to create the culture of your business. Freedom of where you spend your time, who you want to help, how you want to dress, and the overall freedom that comes from getting to be owners and investors. You can listen to this entire conversation on Episode 4 of the B2W podcast.
Written by Gregory Nesmith, Community Relations Director & Entrepreneurship Mentor at Bridges To Wealth, Founder & CEO at UNderdogstuff, a member of Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship’s VIP-C Incubator, Philly native, and soon to be Wharton School alum. www.GregoryNesmith.com.
1. Podcast Audio:
2. Video of Podcast Episode: