When it comes to business, age is nothing but a number. HOPE Business In A Box Academies (HBIABA), Operation HOPE’s youth entrepreneurship program, proves this every day. But eighteen-year old South Los Angeles native, Marco Vargas, wants the world to invest in those young people and their business ventures – young people like himself.

After seeing an opportunity to turn a pain point into profit, Marco launched a small event staffing business in 2016 called Waiters in Distress. With his $500 HBIABA grant, Marco grew his small venture into a successful business, providing quality service for his customers and meeting a need in his community. Today, the business boasts more than $13,000 in gross profits and Marco is looking to expand across the country through franchising opportunities.

Waiters in Distress serves more than its clientele. They intentionally pour into their student employees and support their financial needs. “Our business helps students pay for food, assist their families with paying bills, and develop strong leadership skills,” Vargas says.

Operation HOPE’s youth programs are empowering next-generation business innovators like Marco — developing mindful business leaders who provide positive solutions and put people first.

Marco and other outstanding youth entrepreneurs will showcase their businesses at a youth pitch competition sponsored by our partner, Huntington Bank, at the upcoming HOPE Global Forums | Annual Meeting in Atlanta later this month.


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