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Entrepreneurship class teaches Duncanville ISD students to become young business owners

“I think I’m most optimistic just about meeting other people and getting my brand out there. Not so much as making sales," said Laila Hamilton.

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — Some students at Duncanville High School are getting first-hand experience in starting businesses and becoming young entrepreneurs. 

On a cold Saturday in Dallas, a group of teens could be seen setting up tables at the Dallas Farmers Market and luring crowds to check out a variety of items for sale.

“Hi, would you be interested in buying something to keep you warm today?” one student asked a couple of visitors. 

The students knew they had to set up their vending area and stand out among other competition. 

“We’ve got chocolate, red velvet, pumpkin spice, strawberry, and fruity pebbles cupcakes,” another student told a group of people passing by.

For many of these students, it’s their first chance at launching their very own business.

“I think I’m most optimistic just about meeting other people and getting my brand out there. Not so much as making sales. But just letting folks know what my brand is,” said Laila Hamilton. 

The teens are part of an entrepreneurship class at Duncanville High School. Brian Duncan is their teacher.

“Y’all are doing good. Keep it going,” Duncan told the teens, as he walked about observing his students and giving them pointers and advice.

Students said Mr. Duncan is not only their teacher. They described him as their mentor in business. 

“Look, y’all are doing better than you think. Alright. Y’all are competing with all of these grownups out here,” Duncan told the students.

The vision to prepare for the Farmers Market vendors fair began in their classroom. A simple homework assignment evolved into the possibility of making some of the students’ dreams come true.

“I want them to see themselves as business owner, because so often we are training our kids to be better employees. But why not train them to be bosses,” said Duncan. 

As their teacher and mentor, Duncan guides the class through everything from writing a formal business plan to the elevator pitch.

“This is just one business. I want to have multiple,” said student Fre’ Dior. 

The ultimate goal, for most, is opening their own business.

"It’s a huge game-changer. Normally, schools wouldn’t even think of even having an entrepreneurship class that is very hands on. So, it gives you more of an experience," Aleeyah Carter explained. 

"So, when you go to things like college and you major in business or administration, you kind of already have that business mindset… so when you get out there, it’s a little bit easier for you." 

The class and its strategy has been working for two years. Community supporters and sponsors provide some help to the students. They assist with marketing and branding.

The young entrepreneurs are making and selling items like desserts, custom jewelry, clothing, hair care products, beauty supplies and so much more.

"I think I might do this more often,” said April Gutierrez.

They’re watching their dreams play out. 

"I’m proud of y’all. For showing up today. You all are making me happy,” Duncan told his students.

As the teacher watched from a distance, he said the class and the students make him proud. 

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