For our group, the month of March is a time to look ahead. We're eager to build on the momentum we gained by hosting a series of programs during Black History Month in February. Two events aimed at empowering entrepreneurs left us optimistic about prospects for connecting with the community.
To inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, we hosted a full day of programs for high school students. Over 70 teens came to Amazon's Seattle campus and worked with Amazonians to develop an innovative concept for an Alexa skill. Small teams of students honed their ideas (including ones for using Alexa as a tutor or a job-finding resource), and then pitched them to our panel of judges: radio host Sway Calloway, Seattle entrepreneur Dave Cotter, Black Employee Network (BEN) Co-President Rovina Broomfield, and NFL player Russell Okung.
The youth entrepreneurship program created by the Seattle-based Greater Foundation– a group Okung co-founded – was essential to the event. The foundation has a mission of redefining education for students of all backgrounds through the power of sports and technology. Andrew McGee, the foundation's co-founder and executive director said, "Like-minded partners like BEN give us the ability to connect students with mentors, encourage them to pursue their dreams, and be whatever they want to be in life. This event did just that."
As members of the BEN Community Relations Committee, we'll continue to schedule events with the foundation and keep the students engaged throughout the year.
We'll also be looking to build on the enthusiasm we saw during a Selling on Amazon workshop we hosted in partnership with BlackDot, a community organization that supports black entrepreneurs and start-ups. The audience heard from entrepreneur Trudy Susan, who stressed the role that Amazon customers have played in helping her grow her business.
A community member who attended the workshop said it was very helpful for those who are trying to get their businesses started. We loved hearing this. Many of us who participate in BEN have relocated for our jobs at Amazon. We're inspired to seek out opportunities to meet others, serve the Seattle community, and have fun doing it.