Would you like to move to Chicago? Some believe the Chi is the greatest city in America but others choose to see the negative. Homicides are far too frequent and the perception is that the city is simply a bloodbath. At the root is Black unemployment — historically twice that of whites and in Chicago, even worse. Further, 47% of Black men between the ages of 20 and 24 are neither working or in school. Britney Robbins is on a mission to launch hundreds of Black owned businesses and change the city through her organization, The Gray Matter Experience.
The Gray Matter Experience (TGME) is a non profit and entrepreneurial experience program for high school students. Their mission is to expose youth to entrepreneurship and provide them access to the tools and resources necessary to build businesses to impact their communities. The organization believes that by allowing students to serve on the front lines of community growth and ownership, it will increase their self-worth and strengthen their ties to the communities in which they live. The organization is already having a major impact on the city.
Since its founding in 2016, TGME has served 154 young entrepreneurs from over 34 different Chicago schools. Over $50,000 in seed funding and pro bono services have been awarded to participants in their program and five fully teen-run, legally incorporated businesses have been founded. The organization has been recognized by the Chicago Tribune, Essence Magazine and Fox32 Chicago for its work and deservingly so. Britney and her organization understand that we must save our young people and provides solutions to our problems. We cannot depend on others and ultimately, we have the power to do for ourselves.
On Thursday, April 18, The Gray Matter Experience will host its first annual fundraiser. If you’re around Chicago go and learn more about TGME’s programs, students and impact. Attendees will enjoy live jazz, a bbq buffet and specialty cocktails. You’ll also hear from key stakeholders about the impact they’ve made in the lives of Chicago youth and how they plan to change the landscape of underrepresented neighborhoods through business creation. TGME provides a platform for Black teens to create their own businesses and positively impact their communities. There is no better mission in all of Chicago, for Black people.