Nation's top young entrepreneurs in Detroit for Forbes Under 30 Summit

Posted at 9:06 PM, Oct 28, 2019

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Forbes Under 30 Summit is billed as the greatest summit for millennials in the world. This year, for the first time, it's being held in Detroit.

The four-day experiential summit takes place just weeks before the famed Forbes 30 Under 30 list is released. The thousands of summit attendees include past and present list members, as well as other professionals who want to meet them. Forbes believes they will learn as much from each other as the host city.

Sherry Phillips, the senior vice president of Forbes Live, says the professionals who make 'the list' and those who attend the summit come from a wide variety of industries. While there are many workshops and speakers to be inspired by, one of the most valuable teachers will be the city itself.

Entrepreneurs will get behind the scenes tours to "learn from what’s been happening in Detroit," Phillips says.

Showing and featuring Detroit as a hotbed for entrepreneurship is extra exciting for Forbes '30 Under 30' list finalist Drew Edwards. He grew up in Rochester and started a nonprofit shortly after graduating high school.

Phillips co-founded Pangea Educational Development after a trip he took when he was just 18 years old.

"I ended up volunteering in Uganda, in the refugee camps," Edwards said.

While there he met kids who had little to no access to books and little opportunity to learn to read.

So he co-founded Pangea with a simple goal to try and lower the cost and barriers to accessing books, Edwards said. The plan is two-fold.

"We have mobile libraries that are a Netflix subscription model, the other is just working with governments to get (books) in schools," Edwards said.

Then he realized that the children's books that are available weren’t relevant to the refugee kids trying to read them. So Edwards came up with a solution.

"We publish local children’s folklore in Uganda," Edwards said.

It's essentially creating children's books from stories that historically were only passed down orally from generation to generation.

Pangea continued to expand, to taking folklore shared by refugees in other countries and turning those stories into children’s books as well.

Though the books were originally created as educational tools for refugee children, Edwards began selling the books in the U.S. as a fundraiser.

That's when he realized that kids in American cities need these stories, too. Now Pangea has partnerships with schools in the U.S. as well.

"We are really concerned with how children see themselves and see others," Edwards said. "By adding a couple different voices that we don’t often hear into children’s literature here, we are hoping it makes a better world for everybody."

Edwards will find out if he is chosen for Forbes 30 Under 30 list in November and is honored to be a finalist.

Find out more about Pangea's mission to empower schools and unify communities through sustainable education here:

To learn more about the Forbes Under 30 Summit or the 30 Under 30 list here.