Building a BASE of Future Entrepreneurs

Cheryl Yaffe Kiser, Executive Director of Babson College's Lewis Institute, speaks at Roxbury nonprofit The BASE

At their core, entrepreneurs are problem solvers. They identify obstacles, propose solutions, and act.

For years, entrepreneurial leaders have learned and sharpened these skills at Babson College. As part of a new two-year program with Roxbury nonprofit The BASE, Babson will teach these methodologies to BASE coaches and staff, so that they can help urban teenagers become the next generation of problem solvers.

“These are kids who live with uncertainty every day,” said Risa Sherman, director of the Babson College Youth Impact Lab. “They are young people who see problems that are real and tangible. With entrepreneurial skills, and an understanding of their personal assets, they can step into the world as problem solvers.”

A two-year grant from the Cummings Foundation will endow the training of high school students in entrepreneurial leadership. Coaching via the Youth Impact Lab will start with a series of workshops in the spring. Over the next two years, Babson College will train about 40 staff members of The BASE to use entrepreneurial leadership practices in their teachings, making an impact on approximately 150 students annually.

“We have an opportunity to launch people who can create economic and social impact in our world, and be addressing the biggest challenges we have as a global society,” Sherman said.

Founded in 2013 by Robert Lewis Jr. to give inner city black and brown youth an opportunity to receive life and college readiness skills, The BASE now works with more than 1,000 Boston student-athletes annually to advance their education and career outlook.

“BASE students are the next generation of leaders we need,” Lewis said in a statement. “They have an intuitive understanding of the world around them, are relentlessly optimistic team players, and are oriented to take action. Our young people are growing up in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. The world is complicated, the problems we face are complex, and they will continue to be called upon to solve the challenges in our communities and around the globe.”

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