By Melanie Evans Rivera

The Father Knows Best Program, as operated by Allan Houston and the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation, is just one part of the mission of the Foundation overall. The lesser known, but equally important component of Allan’s work with the Foundation is the Business Education & Development Program (BEDP). This program, now in its sixth year, fosters, encourages and empowers young entrepreneurs whose success is so crucial to not only their own futures and those of the families they support but to the nation’s economy in general.

The simple fact is that any society is really only prosperous if it encourages and fosters entrepreneurial activity as it is these people who really determine the level of prosperity, opportunity and growth. The most successful and dynamic societies in history have been those that have had structures in place encourage and motivate those with entrepreneurial aspirations. And it is this kind of support and encouragement that the BEDP offers, even when many other sectors of the business community do not.

At its core, the BEDP provides young entrepreneurs with a six-month long curriculum that arms them with the business education they need to turn their ideas into reality. A further year-long program offers the successful graduates assistance with startup capital, help finding the space needed to run their business and perhaps most importantly of all, the wisdom and guidance of mentors who have been in their position and have already successfully navigated all the difficulties of being an entrepreneur.

The entrepreneurs that the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation have already helped to launch their businesses are a very diverse set of young people. From a program designed to teach toddlers a second language at the crucial time when their brains will best absorb the knowledge, to an environmentally friendly cosmetics and household products company, to sports representation agencies and fashion design houses, BEDP graduates are doing it all.

This part of the program really does go hand-in-hand with the Father Knows Best Program as well. Even with all the love in the world, and the very best intentions, young parents still need to be able to provide for their families financially. The Allan Houston Legacy Foundation helps to create not just opportunities for its direct participants, but each business’ future employees as these enterprises grow. This helps to create stronger communities and a better economic outlook for everyone.