Seedco has received over $1 million in grants from the Workforce Investment Network – LWIA 13 and the Delta Regional Authority that will be used to launch two new workforce development programs in Memphis: Empower Youth, an employment training program for young people, and Seeding Entrepreneurship Across the Mid-South (SEAM), a small business incubator geared toward low-income individuals.

Workforce Investment Network provided $754,825 in support for Empower Youth, a two-year  program that will prepare 245 youths, ages 16-24  to attain the education and employability skills necessary to find and sustain employment and advance in high-demand, high wage sectors of the Memphis  labor market.

 Both in-school and out-of-school youth will work with Seedco-trained Empowerment Specialists and participate in a peer leadership group, which will provide peer support and help them develop leadership, problem-solving, team-building, and communication skills. The out-of-school youth participants will receive additional services, including Seedco’s Career Steps program (unpaid work experience), Operation JumpStart (entrepreneurial training), Key Train (skills remediation), GED/HSE prep, mentoring and technical training.

 The Delta Regional Authority has awarded a $265,226 investment into Seedco for the launch of a two-year “Seeding Entrepreneurship Across the Mid-South” (SEAM) pilot to serve budding entrepreneurs in Shelby, Fayette and Tipton counties. The SEAM program will provide a comprehensive, scalable model utilizing entrepreneurship as the foundation for reducing poverty through asset, wealth and job creation.

“Our region’s small businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of our local economies, which is why the Delta Regional Authority is strategically investing in programs and organizations like Seedco’s SEAM pilot that provide the support services, training, and resources entrepreneurs need to turn their ideas into solid businesses that help grow their local economy,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill.

 Entrepreneurs are critical to the long-term health of our economy.  The program’s goal is to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship for micro and social enterprises that will support economic development and spur job creation in distressed counties through growth-oriented entrepreneur education, trainings and support.  Seedco plans to enroll a minimum of 60 clients and help them launch approximately 12 new businesses.  SEAM also aligns with the Tennessee Department of Community and Economic Development’s strategic priorities related to entrepreneurship.


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