DALLAS – A group of students from southern Dallas is getting a crash-course in the basics of entrepreneurship with a chance at competing to have their small start-ups partner with a local restaurant.
You could feel the excitement in YMCA Moorland, on Thursday, as a large group of students rehearsed and fine-tuned their business pitches. “Our group’s name is Sweetalicious Lemonade,” Tierra Pettey said as she huddled with her group of friends and business partners.
The students were preparing to pitch their lemonade creations and ideas before a panel of industry professionals in a Shark-Tank inspired competition. “The people we target are like teenagers from like 13 to 21,” Jazziel Gutierrez explained as he practiced.
The students are part of the YMCA Achievers Entrepreneur Program. Over the past eight weeks, they have been learning basic business skills from the professionals. "I’m learning how to take leadership, and how to work with a team," Vincent Paris said.
The students have been following a set curriculum during the program. As they marched into a room, group by group, it was showtime. Each student explained their roles in the business and pitched their product.
The top three groups will win the opportunity to have their lemonade sold at select Williams Chicken locations in Dallas this weekend.
Steven White is Co-Chair of Lemonade Day Dallas. “We want to teach them how to market, how to budget, and how to make a product, and how to make a customer happy," White said.
The panel of judges included representatives from Coca-Cola, Capital One, AT&T, and Williams Chicken. They grilled the young entrepreneurs with questions after each presentation.
“If you have enough courage to start your own business, and you really put your heart into it, you could actually do something. And that’s what we are doing here today," Ryane Rosemond said. "We put our effort into it. We’ve been working hard. Trying to make everything perfect. And now we’re ready to do it.”
Many of the students said one of the biggest things they learned is one of the main missions behind a successful business is giving back. Each of their plans included giving 10-percent to charity.
The lemonade stands will active Saturday, July 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at three locations, including: Williams Chicken 2909 E. Illinois Avenue; Williams Chicken in Cedar Hill; and Williams Chicken on Robert B. Cullum. Organizers are encouraging community members to visit the locations to support and encourage the students’ work.