Juliana Cardona Mejia ’13 is the founder and CEO of Street Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. that ignites the grit and power of low-income communities by enabling the creation of small businesses.
“We serve homeless, chronically unemployed, veterans, refugees, previously incarcerated, and low-income individuals, who, even in the absence of opp
ortunity, will create one for themselves,” Juliana shares. “Each participant has a unique story of resilience to share. Despite the many challenges they have faced, they never gave up, which makes them the perfect entrepreneurs. They are hungry for an opportunity to rise out of poverty.”
To get started, Juliana connected with countless professionals to help develop the program, construct a website, incorporate into a 501(c)3, and much more. She then found shelters to provide space and has held entrepreneurship workshops for nearly 50 participants.
Who We Are
Street Entrepreneurs will ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of homeless and opportunity youth.
What We Do
Street Entrepreneurs provides an outlet for creative, street savvy youth to innovate in a positive space by providing business education, mentorship and exposure.
Why We Serve
We serve homeless youth ages 18-24, because they are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population; currently they compose 12% of the homeless demographic.
Roughly 20-40% of homeless youth have been forced out of their homes because they identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender, and another 45% have aged out of the foster care system.
Currently up to 40% of homeless youth resort to the drug trade as an outlet for entrepreneurship and financial means. We want to create an alternative for them to use their drive and creativity not only to survive but also to thrive.
68% of homeless youth lack a high school diploma, which increases their propensity for unemployment by 4% and de...