Lessons with Daquan Oliver
Play • 46 min

This episode features a conversation with Daquan Oliver, Founder and CEO of WeThrive. Still in the first decade of his career, Daquan has earned prestigious professional fellowships in the social sector, with Ashoka and Echoing Green, and was featured as one of Forbes magazine’s thirty under thirty social entrepreneurs. WeThrive is the social enterprise Daquan founded in 2014. WeThrive offers middle and high school youth programming and seed money to develop real, revenue-generating businesses, bolstered by an array of skill-building curriculum and experiences around financial literacy, problem-solving and leadership, as well as opportunities to develop social capital through a network of mentors and advisors. WeThrive seeks to make entrepreneurship education and the opportunities it can bring equitably accessible, and in doing so really reframes how we even talk about and view youth, not as under-resourced, but rather, under-estimated.

Daquan and Jason talk about his own experience as a young adolescent and how it inspired him to make entrepreneurism and youth service the core mission of his work. They then discuss how WeThrive was created, the under-estimated youth it is designed to serve, and the core elements of the program from curriculum through the launch of student-developed micro-enterprises. They also address WeThrive’s effect on youth, how WeThrive builds not only practical skills but also senses of agency and self-worth, why and how students gravitate toward building businesses that solve social problems in their school, their community, and the world, and how Daquan thinks about scale and where WeThrive goes next within the evolving education and youth-serving landscape.

Additional Readings and Resources

Remaking Middle School is launching a Middle School Listening Tour! If you are a parent, teacher, administrator, youth development professional, policy maker, or youth advocate of middle grade students, we would love to hear from you. Please visit http://RemakingMiddleSchool.org and click “Sign Up” for the Listening Tour.

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