The Sweet Potato Project

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NORTH ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The Sweet Potato Project kicked off Saturday morning in north St. Louis, using an urban garden to give at-risk kids the keys to entrepreneurship.

A small, dirt root held the secrets to financial empowerment for at-risk kids.  Young men in middle and high school planted sweet potatoes at the 4500 block of Athlone.  In the heart of north St. Louis, it was the ultimate urban garden.

"We will spend the next eight weeks teaching them how to turn the produce into a product," explained Sylvester Brown, director of The Sweet Potato Project.

By summer's end the project would graduate its first class of entrepreneurs.

"These kids will learn how to market it, how to brand it, how to create a website for it, how to go out and sell it to churches, how to sell it to groups," Brown explained.

"We're just filling up these bins right here with soil," Michael King, 17, walked us through the process.

He already had aspirations of being his own boss.  He plans to produce all genres of music when he graduates college, "But mainly, rap, hip-hop, stuff like that."

King added, entrepreneurship is like any other opportunity.  Kids won't pursue it, if they don't know it's there, "I think they got the idea, but not any kind of knowledge behind it," he explained.  "Everybody that I association with has that entrepreneurial kind of mindset.  So, I just follow in their steps.  That's what I'm raised around."

"What we're trying to say is," Brown stressed.  ''Let's plant a seed, not only in the community, but in these kids' minds.  Let's show them they have opportunities right outside their door."

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