July 26, 2011

Kevin Liles’ Make It Happen Foundation Kicks Off Summer Business Academies for Teens in Baltimore

BALTIMORE, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Make It Happen Summer Business Academies, founded by Baltimore's own Kevin Liles, Founder and CEO of KWL Enterprises and one of the most respected executives in the entertainment industry, kicks off its inaugural season in Baltimore this week. The entrepreneurship education program for 30 specially selected 10th and 11th graders runs through August 5, 2011 at Morgan State University. The Make It Happen Foundation was started by Liles and his wife, Erika, to foster an environment for young people to realize their full potential.

Says Kevin Liles, "It is our responsibility to provide a platform for the next generation of leaders. At the MIHF Summer Business Academy, we plan to provide young passionate teens with the tools necessary to be entrepreneurs, innovators and future CEOs of corporations. In my continued efforts to make a difference, over the next two weeks participants will not only get educated, they will also get real time experience. I would like to thank my partners at LEAD and Morgan State University for believing in my vision and bringing the Academy to my hometown of Baltimore."

The program, which provides deserving economically disadvantaged youth with business training and exposure to higher education, is open to eligible sophomores/juniors who complete a 500-word essay and who are recommended by their teachers. "Inspired by LEAD" is a marketing initiative created by the LEAD Program, which is a national non-profit organization that focuses on bringing, "knowledge, interest and confidence to America's brightest high school students to explore careers in business, science, engineering and technology." The Make It Happen Foundation Summer Business Academies inaugural event will be hosted by Morgan State University, and the program will continue to expand to additional universities and institutions around the world. The experience includes field trips to local businesses where students can see their coursework in an applied setting and where they can network and meet business leaders. The capstone of the course involves team-based business plan projects where the winning groups will earn the opportunity to work as Production Assistants at a local Baltimore concert, back-stage passes and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet the artists. Working behind-the-scenes will allow the youth to see the business and operations aspects from the inside.

Student Selection Process: Each student submitted an application and had to be accepted to participate in the program. The application required that a student be in good standing at a Baltimore area high school. When evaluating each student, the selection committee was looking to nurture average level students with high potential.

The curriculum includes:

  • Lectures -- Students attend lectures taught by host university professors and corporate partners. Topics include introductory business courses in marketing, finance, ethics, etc.
  • Corporate Visits -- Students gain exposure to the application of business principles in the real world as they interact with local corporate executives during on-site visits.
  • Business Plan Project - Groups of students split into teams of five or six to compete by developing a business plan derived from a new idea targeting the teen/young-adult market with a focus on media. The teams will research the merits and feasibility of their ideas and over the course of the two-week program compose a complete business plan, create a presentation and attempt to sell fictitious venture capitalists on their plans. The venture capitalists/judges include Baltimore area entrepreneurs and Ric Ramsey, President of the LEAD program.

The program is slated to expand worldwide in 2012.

Liles, who founded the Make It Happen Foundation, grew up in Baltimore and worked his way from unpaid intern to President and CEO of the Def Jam Music Group. He established the Make It Happen Foundation to foster an environment for young people to realize their full potential. In pursuit of this mission, the Liles' have leveraged Kevin's standing as an American music industry pioneer to create the Summer Business Academies together with LEAD in numerous US cities, focused on serving economically disadvantaged youth.


The Make It Happen Foundation, founded by Kevin Liles, Founder and CEO of KWL Enterprises, and his wife, Erika, provides opportunities and access for young people to become products of their experiences and not merely products of their environment. Through internship partners and mentor programs, the foundation provides life-changing opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth.

SOURCE Make It Happen Foundation