Kudos to The Enterprise Center

Last week, I decided to sneak over to The Enterprise Center in between meetings to check in on a youth business and leadership camp being held there. I spent ten good years there, from 1995 to 2005, and started and ran the youth entrepreneurship program, among other responsibilities. I’m invested in a different way now, having served as a board member since 2006. So it’s obviously an organization that I think very highly of and take a lot of pride in.

My recent visit only confirmed my positive feelings, and made me happy for how much good the organization has done since I stopped working there. Coming off the subway stop, I walked past the community garden of The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation, and thought of all the good work and good press that has emerged from that entity. Standing outside the building, as if waiting for me, was one of my old friends on staff, who has taken care of the building from a janitorial and systems standpoint for several years, and even after all of those years, he still takes pride in his craft.

Upon entering the building, I watched young people being checked in in an orderly and professional manner, and then entered our event center and sat in the back, like a fly on the wall, as youth sat at round tables awaiting the commencement of the program. Though it was summer and the young men and women talked freely and happily, you could tell they were taking this whole exercise seriously, a point also reinforced by the names of the tables, such as “Confidence” and “Risk-Taking” and “Networking.” I found out from one of the staffers that this is actually the first of three summer youth camps The Enterprise Center is on the hook to host.

I left the building beaming at all that this organization has grown into. And it’s not just the outward programming; technology, grant-writing, and accounting are all done much more professionally than when I was involved. It’s humbling, to be sure, to see how much better things are run now than when I ran them; but it is also a source of pride, that I was involved in keeping the thing going in hard times and setting things up so they could be built up to this degree.

Although what is really thrilling is stuff I cannot claim even peripheral credit for. The Enterprise Center is nothing if it is not an entrepreneurial entity, even as it helps entrepreneurial entities, and so the proliferation of innovative activities and high-end processes far exceeds what I could’ve even imagined way back when. In this regard, if I am taking pride, it is not the pride of congratulating myself for helping contribute to these successes, but rather of being able to say that I am affiliated with such an organization.

Kudos to all at The Enterprise Center, and good for Philadelphia and the whole region that this fantastic organization is here where it is, doing what it does, so well and in so many ways and for so long.

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