Kevin Liles

Music Executive and Verizon to Give Students Lesson in Entrepreneurship and STEM at N.C. A&T

Entrepreneurs are often the best teachers of entrepreneurship. Accordingly, music executive, former Def Jam Recordings president, and CEO of KWL Enterprises, Kevin Liles has teamed up with communication technology giant Verizon. Through the company’s Innovative Learning program for minority males, Liles will visit with participating minority, male middle school and college students at North Carolina A&T State University to discuss the 21st century convergence of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and entrepreneurship.

On Thursday, June 23 beginning at noon, Liles will share best practices in turning innovative ideas into entrepreneurial ventures and tips on delivering a strong “elevator pitch.” During the “Minority Male Makers Entrepreneurship 101” lecture, an extension of the Innovative Learning program, students will be tasked with developing creative, tech-focused business ideas and have an opportunity to practice their skills during the “Elevator Pitch Challenge” with Liles.

In addition to the entrepreneurship seminar, the Minority Male Maker program allows rising sixth through eighth grade students the opportunity to spend one week throughout the summer immersed in hands-on, explorative technology options such as 3D design, app development, coding and more.

Liles’ involvement is particularly relevant to the foundational principles of the program. Not only is he a successful minority male entrepreneur, but he attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland on an electrical engineering scholarship. In addition to his entrepreneurial pursuits, Liles is an active and avid philanthropist. While advising and serving on several boards he oversees both Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore, which invests in the Baltimore community and the Make it Happen Foundation, which empowers African-American youth to succeed in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Verizon’s two-year, Innovative Learning program provides hands-on-learning experiences with advanced technology and mentorship. Launched in the summer of 2015, the program seeks to empower a new generation of young men, who are overwhelmingly underrepresented in STEM fields, by giving them lifelong technology and entrepreneurship skills to build innovations of tomorrow.

Initially, the Verizon Foundation partnered with four Historically Black Colleges and Universities, N.C. A&T among them, to facilitate summer science intensive courses giving students exposure to the latest in technology. The program also pairs middle school student participants with college students for mentoring throughout the school year.

The “Minority Male Makers Entrepreneurship 101” lecture will be held in the Academic Classroom Building, room 101 on the campus of N.C. A&T.