During a time when more focus needs to be placed on building our communities and creating generational wealth through entrepreneurship, one of Houston’s newest residents is taking a lead in helping students solidify their futures.
Business and entertainment mogul Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and partner Al Kashani, president of Horizon United Group, in partnership with the Houston Independent School District, inducted 75 students from Kashmere, Wheatley, and Worthing high schools into a program that will teach them the business skills that define successful entrepreneurship.
The groundbreaking G-Unity Business Lab is helping students acquire critical professional skills.
Students in the lab will engage in MBA-level lessons that represent the full lifecycle of a product or concept, from idea creation to market branding, to even running a company.
“This is an exciting partnership for the students of HISD. Curtis Jackson moved to Houston and immediately invested in our children, becoming a stakeholder in their future,” said HISD Superintendent Millard House II. “By focusing on underserved youth and providing paid internships, the G-Unity Business Lab will help students from low-income households envision a different reality for themselves and their future. We recognize that HISD alone can’t create the next great entrepreneur. That’s why I am grateful to Curtis Jackson and Horizon United for recognizing the value and potential of our students and bringing this landmark program to our schools.”
This initiative represents the first flagship investment of Jackson’s philanthropic arm, the G-Unity Foundation, which is investing $300,000 over two years. HISD is matching the funds for a total of $600,000.
“It’s great to be giving back to this community that’s already given me so much,” said Jackson. “It was an honor to meet these 75 students who will take the knowledge they gain and be able to lead businesses and communities. They can do great things if they just have the right skills and tools. This program is going to help get them there.”
This program goes to the heart of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Complete Communities Initiative and he expressed his gratitude that the G-Unity Labs focus on schools and students.
“I want to thank Curtis Jackson and Al Kashani for investing in Houston ISD students. The G-Unity Lab will make a significant difference in the lives of students and their families,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Too many students are residing in neighborhoods that have for decades been underserved and under-resourced. The students chosen for this program will gain the educational and social skills necessary to create generational wealth to help their families.”
The selected schools will work with HISD educators, Houston business leaders, and the G-Unity Foundation to complete an after-school course that teaches MBA concepts aligned with Curtis Jackson’s book Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter.
“As a Houstonian, I’m so proud to be a partner with the program that changes the landscape of Houston,” said Kashani.
Through the 12-week course, students will be exposed to instruction from high-achieving business leaders that will mentor them through the process.
The program will culminate in a “Shark Tank” style competition called “Hustle Tank” that will be judged by Curtis Jackson, Al Kashani, President of Horizon United Group, and other community leaders. The winners will receive seed money to begin their businesses that are incubated in Houston.