In the Beginning
Upon returning home from Morehouse College, our Founder noticed a stark difference in the mindset of the people he was around in the Atlanta University Center. He decided he would create a program that helped people living in poverty "shift" their mindset.
While in graduate school at Texas A&M University he entered his idea, "Team SHIFT" into the 2011 Mays Business School Idea's Competition. After becoming a finalist, he won a $500 seed investment from Roy G. Perry, namesake for the Prairie View A&M University College of Engineering.
From there, Ethan pitched his idea to the local Boys & Girls Club as well as the City of Bryan Youth and Neighborhood Services Department. They each agreed to allow him to recruit youth and teach his curriculum at their facilities during the summer and fall of 2011.
From there, Bryan High School and Rudder High School adopted the program as an after school program in partnership with the GEAR-UP federal grant through Texas A&M University in the spring and fall semesters of 2012. and so it began.
Struggling to balance life with fully scaling the fledgling SHIFT organization, Brisby began self-funding SHIFT events and re-created himself into the brand as a public speaker.
"He used the SHIFT Approach" to secure speaking engagements where he provided keynote addresses to various audience types: children aging out of foster care, high school scholarship galas, community events, and church groups.
Recognizing a need for the concepts so deeply ingrains in the SHIFT pillars, Brisby continued by self-funding community events, trips for youth to visit college campuses, youth entrepreneur seminars, and he self-published the book, '5 Proven Strategies on How to Pay for College."
Preparation meets opportunity
In 2017, SHIFT began a special relationship with a youth group in Galveston , Texas. Members of the organization began making quarterly visits to the island to present the SHIFT pillars in a way that would inspire many of the youth to set goals outside of their neighbor or current situations.
It was around this time, our Founder met Erasmus Ichode, a Ugandan born visionary visiting the United States. Brisby introduced Erasmus to the "SHIFT Approach" at a Memorial Day cook out in 2019. Later that year, Erasmus travelled with Ethan to a SHIFT Enterprise Academy in Galveston. Ichode was so inspired that upon his return to Uganda, he implemented the SHIFT approach at his newly founded vocational school in the Bukedea District of Uganda.
After spending two years building a strong understanding for truths and myths associated with the African and African American experience, the two developed a deep admiration for one another. With this in mind, Brisby fulfilled a life-long goal of visiting the African continent in the summer of 2021 when he made his way to Uganda.
Five weeks in East Africa expanded, exposed, and excited Brisby's mind. Upon his return he recognized an incredible need for the SHIFT mission to be implemented on the African continent. From this the SHIFT Enterprise Academy- East Africa Pilot program was launched in September 2021. The program has a theme of "Launching into E-Commerce," and features 15 Enterprisers from four different African nations.
The next chapter of SHIFT Enterprise Academy is now...