Teen Enterprise Center
The Teen Enterprise Center (TEC) is an incubator for youth entrepreneurial-skill development. A component of the Urban Enrichment Institute (Formerly the Fifth Ward Enrichment Program) after-school and weekend curriculum, the TEC is comprised of five adult-supervised business activities that focus on teamwork, self-discipline, product quality, and customer service.
From its beginning as two independent start-up businesses housed at two separate schools, the original B&E Club (Business and Enterprise ) has grown! The T-Shirt Printing Shop (founded at E. O. Smith Middle School in 1994) and the computer repair shop (which began as a pilot program at Wheatley High School in 1995) At the time TEC's equipment ranged from printing stations, film-editing monitors, computer components, paint brushes and scaffolds. Officially opened August 1999 at Lyons Avenue, the Teen Enterprise Center had also housed a dark-room for film developing (photography) and screen production (silk-screening), a multi-purpose conference room, and administrative office space.
The Teen Enterprise Center is the culmination of a short, explosive period of expansion and growth by the Fifth Ward Enrichment Program and its youth-run businesses. As early as spring 1995, the T-shirt printing shop, then named TKO Enterprize, was the only teen operated business in UEI. However, by the summer of 1999, the UEI teen enterprise portfolio included computer repair/refurbishing, the filmmakers project, a bicycle repair shop, and the mural/neighborhood art project. Shifting gears, TEC is now centrally located at the Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center alongside of our administrative offices, where many of the components have been upgraded to fit our participants of the future, with our primary components; Graphics Design, Photography, Music Appreciation, Financial Literacy and Robotics. Reading Enrichment and College Bound Preparation have been added as educational enhancements.
Providing skills and opportunities for earning is the basic focus of economic empowerment. In practice, TEC enterprise activities and training courses are developed for adolescent males. Youths involved receive incentives and awards while learning teamwork, self-discipline, product quality, and customer service through participation in business ventures with all of its sub-components.