Center for Urban Entrepreneurship hosts summer program for minority RCSD students

The FBLE program runs through mid-August at RIT’s Saunders College of Business

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Forty students from the Rochester City School District can be the next Future Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (FBLE)—based on attending an unconventional summer school program on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus. The 10 Saturday sessions run though Aug. 16.

Now in its sixth year, the FBLE program is hosted by Saunders College of Business’ Center for Urban Entrepreneurship (CUE). Additional sponsors include M&T Bank, Rochester City School District and the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation.

“Rochester is listed as one of the poorest cities in the nation,” said Ebony Miller, CUE program director. “One of the main causes of poverty is a lack of education. Our goal is to help alleviate this issue by creating a pipeline that increases accessibility to higher education and provides the apprentices with some transferable skills as well.”

FBLE is an interactive teaching facility where students and faculty from Saunders College meet with minority junior and senior high school students from East High, Edison, Benjamin Franklin, School of the Arts, Wilson Commencement and others to help solve pressing business challenges of several Rochester-based minority companies. The program consists of a sequence of business workshops and face-to-face working sessions and culminates in a formal presentation to representatives of the company during which students offer cost-effective, practical solutions the company can implement.

“It’s a concentrated workshop that builds on teamwork, and this year we are helping six local businesses,” said Y. Rosie Madison, adjunct professor in Saunders College who serves as faculty adviser for the summer program. “Through the lens of a real business challenge, students gain entrepreneurial skills as they develop practical, cost-effective solutions that clients can implement. It also gives students an opportunity to explore higher education and the campus experience. We now have students coming to RIT who have been a part of the program.”

Since its inception in 2009, more than 140 RCSD students have completed the program, and more than 90 percent of participants said the program increased their abilities to speak and present in front of a group, take on difficult challenges, problem solve and work as a team.

For more information about the Future Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs program, contact Ebony Miller at 585-475-6092 or go to