The Youth Entrepreneur Development Foundation Story
The YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION CDC (YEDF), is a non-profit 501(c)(3) afterschool training service provider, which was launched in 2002 to provide after-school education enhancement services and encourage entrepreneurship. YEDF began in collaboration with parents, institutions, businesses, and government agencies to secure capital and successfully provided effective and efficient after school training services. YEDF utilizes and relies heavily on volunteers who are committed parents, entrepreneurs, staff, board members, and other professionals, to (as appropriate) govern, teach lessons and bring real world context and expertise into the program.
YEDF’s founder, Freddie Jones, developed the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Foundation for inner-city school youth after being an entrepreneur most of his adult life. He recognized that more African American Youth need STEM and entrepreneurship training at an early age. Freddie completed a successful career of 42 years in a combination of military, corporate, federal government and as an entrepreneur, and during this time he managed his own part-time business. During his career, Freddie was a business development specialist for the Federal Government, and Monsanto Research Corporation and in both positions, he was responsible for finding qualified minorities to contract with his employer, and through these experiences he was inspired to help empower more African American youth and families to become entrepreneurs.
The YEDF training is intended to inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities and plan for successful futures. Exposure is essential to helping at-risk students see the inside of major corporations, manufacturing, and government owned facilities to experience the electrifying sound of manufacturing and the assembly line robotic operations. Meeting face-to-face with successful entrepreneurs at an early age, is proven to be a major motivation and inspiration for at-risk students that have been restricted to deprived environments.
During YEDF’s active years in Ohio, students and parents were selected to attend the Black Enterprise Conference in Dallas, TX and in Charlotte, NC. These conferences provided them the opportunity to interact with other youth and business executives. The program quickly grew in response to the high demand from parents for afterschool programming and mentoring within the community. In 2012, YEDF’s collaborative efforts with other organizations, most notably NASA, provided valuable management and training assistance to partner with the NASA Best Kids engineering program. Since 2013, YEDF has undergone a restructuring to incorporate a holistic approach to after school training. Several factors beyond the control of the board of directors had a significant impact on the YEDF after school operations and it ceased operations.
In 2019, YEDF is re-launching its work, bringing its rich history to the Metropolitan Washington DC area. Included in the relaunch is an added initiative—the YEDF Youth Mentor-Protégé Program—designed to motivate and encourage more youth and adults to learn about and contribute to the daily management functions of the YEDF, as a process to become Future Leaders. YEDF is positioning itself to provide excellent and essential services to the area’s young minds looking for a way to learn and grow.