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DeSoto teen wins entrepreneurial competition for business she started at 9

At 9, Jasmine Benton wrote a business plan for a design company. Now an investor has put thousands of dollars into it.

DESOTO, Texas — Jasmine Benton was just 9 when she turned her interest in papier-mâché, crafting and painting into a business plan. 

Now at 18, Benton has appeared on comedian Steve Harvey's talk show and recently received a $7,500 investment to expand her work. 

Benton recalls waking up her mother on a Sunday morning when she was a child and saying, "I want to start my own business." 

Without fully understanding what she had done, little-girl Benton had created an entire, detailed business plan in her nightly journal. She wanted her artistic work to be a product others would buy. 

"She had the name of her business, the products she was going to sell, who her customers were," said Benton's other, Jennifer Gormer. "She had sketches. She had the vision. It was all there. She had her own tagline."

Gormer, who is also an entrepreneur, was surprised to see what her kid had done. 

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh,'" Gormer said. 

Credit: Courtesy photo
Jasmine Benton, left, Jennifer Gormer, Mich'el Hobson represent three generations of entrepreneurs in their family.

That early vision propelled Benton to create her own interior decorating business two years later.  

Through Precious Designs, Benton transforms "trash to treasure," Benton said. 

She takes a lot of her work to Dallas art shows and trade shows.

Even with a detailed strategy, her company didn't take off right away. 

About four years ago, Benton struggled to stay motivated when nothing was selling. 

She said her friends would question her and tell her she couldn't maintain the business. 

"I was dealing with a lot of, 'Can I do this? Am I able to do this?'" Benton said. 

She turned to her mother for advice. Her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all started their own businesses. 

Gormer said she told Benton, "Let's find out what you're good at, let's find your passion, let's find your goal and let's go after it."

Credit: Jay Wallis
Jasmine Benton uses a "splatter paint" technique to make one of her trays she will put up for sale.

After talking to her mother, Benton's company has been performing well and she recently competed in and won the Youth Entrepreneurship Shark Tank Challenge. 

She was named the 2019 E2 Winning Business Venture by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and received a $7,500 investment to help scale her business.

Gormer said she was pleased others notice "the passion, the drive, the skill, the dedication and the commitment" of her daughter. 

Going into 2020, Benton hopes to work with her investor to improve her company and build it into something she never could have envisioned in that nightly journal.

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