Monday, April 18, 2011

San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants Hosts Youth Education Conference

By Tokiwa T. Smith, San Francisco/Oakland Contributor

On Saturday, March 5, 2011 at the DeVry University- Oakland Center, Bank of the West and the San Francisco Bay Area Professional Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants Inc. (NABA) hosted the 12th Annual Youth Education Conference for middle school students and parents. The theme for this year's conference was "Planting the Seeds of Entrepreneurship." "This program exists to create a pipeline for NABA’s program for high school students, Accounting Careers Awareness Program (ACAP)" says Tyehimba Jelani, Youth Entrepreneurship Committee Member. "Our program goal is to teach students skills that will crossover into their field of choice." The morning began with an opening session featuring Chef Nikki Shaw, owner of FLAVOR Catering in Oakland, the featured chef of the Los Angeles Lakers "Fit For Life" campaign and host of Today’s Flavor on 102.9 KBLX. Chef Shaw and her mother spoke to the students about entrepreneurship.

Chef Nikki Shaw spoke to the students about entrepreneurship.

The objective of the conference was to expose middle school students to several fundamental concepts associated with owning a business through a case study. The students were divided into groups and partnered with business professionals. In the morning session the students learned about principles of entrepreneurship such as marketing, finance and accounting. After the morning sessions and lunch, Ise Lyfe, founder & Executive Director of Lyfe Productives and one of the nation's premier spoken word artists and emcees, educator, grass-roots organizer, and youth role model, gave a motivational speech to conference attendees. In the afternoon session, the students developed their business pitches. At the end of the conference each group pitched their business to a panel of judges to determine which business would receive funding from investors. The winning businesses were Sweet Pea Day Care and The Future Day Care.

While the students were learning about entrepreneurship, the parents were engaged in workshops about college planning. The morning workshop speaker was Ms. Tovi Scruggs, M.ED, founder of ASA Academy & Community Science Center in Oakland, CA and the Executive Director of the Urban Services Division of the YMCA of the East Bay. The afternoon session, conducted by Bank of the West employees, taught parents about the college financial planning.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Conference awarded $1400 in cash scholarships to attendees and $900 was awarded to pitch winners. Bank of the West provided $50 vouchers to students to open a savings account. “Lives were changed, confidence was restored and dreams of entrepreneurship were awakened,” said Nicole Felix, Youth Education Conference Founder.

About the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc.
Since 1969, the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA) has been the leader in expanding the influence of minority professionals in the fields of accounting and finance. NABA, which is 50 chapters strong in the US including the San Francisco Chapter, is funded by corporate sponsors and private donors. For more information about the San Francisco Bay Area Professional Chapter visit their website at

About Bank of the West
Founded in 1874, the $58 billion-asset Bank of the West ( offers a full range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 700 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states and is committed to giving back and supporting the communities in which it operates through a wide range of activities including youth-focused financial literacy. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, one of the world’s largest and best rated financial institutions with more than 200,000 employees in more than 80 countries.

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