The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia kicked off its Roadmap for Growth programmatic year on October 23, 2019 to host The Entrepreneurial Mind: Teaching Kids to Think Differently.

The new space at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School was the perfect setting for the conversation as over 100 business, education, and civic leaders took their seats; there, they found a pleasant surprise: cookies by Rebel Ventures, a youth-driven business that convenes Philadelphia students to make, produce, and sell “healthy deliciousness.”

PHL Neighborhood Growth Project

Education & Workforce Modernization is a key policy pillar of the PHL Neighborhood Growth Project’s Inclusive Growth agenda. Learn more:

1. Entrepreneurship gives young people the skills and training to thrive in the workforce.

As young business leaders Tre’cia Gibson, Lauren Martinez, and Nevaeh Torian of Rebel Ventures showed the audience in their featured presentation, entrepreneurship teaches young people ingenuity, creativity, and grit — all skills needed to thrive in the workforce.

2. And many schools are not always equipped to prepare future employees.

Although institutions such as Cristo Rey and the Workshop School are pushing the envelope when it comes to traditional learning, panelist Nicodemus Madehdou had a different experience growing up. He started his business JumpButton Studio in high school after facing roadblocks in his education, such as being told to wait until he was in college to apply for internships.

3. Employers value the entrepreneurial spirit.

Business owners and employees alike can learn a lot from entrepreneurship. As panelist Sylvester Mobley put it, “Kids who learn entrepreneurship become adults who don’t wait to be told what to do. They figure out what needs to be done and do it.”

4. Entrepreneurship can address Philadelphia’s unemployment and poverty rate.

With business creation comes job creation. Philadelphia is still the poorest big city in the country but entrepreneurship can help stimulate the economy and promote inclusive growth across all of our neighborhoods.

Finally, moderator Yvette A. Núñez, Vice President, Civic Affairs, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, threw a wild card to our panel of experts: What trait is critical to teach and learn entrepreneurship?

  • “Ability to persevere.” — Sylvester Mobley, Coded by Kids
  • “It’s not who you know but who knows you. Leave with a positive impression. Make sure they remember you.” — Nicodemus Madehdou, JumpButton Studio
  • “Have a mentor. Not to put limits on you but to have a sounding board.” — Dan Fitzpatrick, Citizens Bank
  • “How you teach matters more than what you teach.” — Matthew Riggan, The Workshop School
  • “Every person has successes and failures. But successful people don’t dwell on failure.” — Councilman Allan Domb

A special thanks to our panelists, featured speakers Tre’cia Gibson, Lauren Martinez, and Nevaeh Torian of Rebel Ventures, exhibitor Maria Murray of Boujee Baddies Cosmetics (another youth-driven business), host John McConnell for highlighting the Cristo Rey internship experience, and Roadmap Co-chair Pedro Ramos of Philadelphia Foundation for opening the program.

The Roadmap for Growth Action Team

The Roadmap for Growth Action Team is a multi-disciplined group of Chamber members and partners that leverages resources and relationships to develop and assist in the implementation of the PHL Neighborhood Growth Project (NGP) policy agenda that promotes economic growth and prosperity, in every neighborhood across Philadelphia.

Connect with Anna Bohl-Fabian at to learn more about Roadmap.