The SHIFT Approach, in the Beginning
At Morehouse College, our Founder was given a charge by Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, the college's 10th President to become a 'Renaissance Man with a social conscious and a global perspective.' With this as his assignment, Brisby returned to his hometown, Bryan , Texas to begin the next part of his mission. Back home in Bryan, the Urban Studies major noticed distinct differences in mindset when considering the people he was around in the Atlanta University Center and the people in his beloved Bryan community.
It was at this point Brisby received the inspiration for creating the SHIFT Approach. The original curriculum, "Team SHIFT," was designed to help people living in poverty "shift" their mindset. As a graduate student at Texas A&M University, Ethan submitted "Team SHIFT" into the 2011 Mays Business School Idea's Competition. Team SHIFT made it to the final, and won a $500 seed investment from Roy G. Perry, namesake for the Prairie View A&M University College of Engineering. From there, the young entrepreneur started pitching his idea to organizations with an existing footprint with local youth including the Boys & Girls Club and the City of Bryan Youth & Neighborhood Services Department.
With each organization accepting Brisby's proposal, he began recruiting youth to teach the SHIFT Approach at their facilities. This took place during the summer and fall of 2011. The initial pilot SHIFT Enterprise Academy included fives in-person interactive lectures, a Houston area college tour, and a speech competition. 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...
Growing Pains Alter the Vision
After early adaptation from the local community, our Founder began struggling to balance life with fully scaling the fledgling SHIFT organization. In order to keep the vision alive, Brisby published, an autobiographical book, "5 Proven Strategies on how to Pay for College." This literature remains a companion to the SHIFT Approach. It is an illustration of what shifting of the mind can do for a young man or woman with a definite purpose of getting from they are now to where they want to be in the future.
The first growth stage of SHIFT Enterprise Academy was more about Brisby growing tall enough to wear the crown Morehouse placed above his head, than actually building an organization. Ethan become the SHIFT Approach, pillar by pillar. Much of the activity related to SHIFT from 2013-2016 is credited to Brisby-led workshops and keynote addresses. Progress looked like expanding the reach of the vision of SHIFT to: children aging out of foster care, high school scholarship galas, and church groups.
Recognizing a need for the concepts so deeply ingrains in the SHIFT pillars, Brisby began using the money he earned from real estate commissions to self-fund community events, trips for youth to visit college campuses, youth entrepreneur seminars, and guerilla marketing, '5 Proven Strategies on How to Pay for College."
When Preparation Meets Opportunity
In 2017, SHIFT began a special relationship with a youth group in Galveston, Texas. The SHIFT Approach Creator along with new volunteers of the SHIFT organization began making bi-annual 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 leaders developed a deep admiration for one another's work. 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 enlightening weeks in East Africa expanded, exposed, and excited Brisby's mind. While still in Uganda, the innovator began building relationships with likeminded pioneers. Upon returning to the US Ethan began creating a curriculum culturally appropriate for an East African audience. Then he leveraged his East African relationships to evolve the curriculum into "Launching into E-Commerce," during the fall of 2021. Bridging the gap between Africans and African Americans is proving to be fertile ground for SHIFT to scale into a fully funded enterprise poised to become Africa's leading business accelerator program.
The next chapter of SHIFT Enterprise Academy is now...