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Virtual summit inspires Durham, other teen entrepreneurs

Posted May 27, 2020 9:40 p.m. EDT
Updated May 27, 2020 11:24 p.m. EDT

— Junior Achievement USA partnered with the Brian Hamilton Foundation and Mark Cuban Foundation to host "Why Entrepreneurship Now — A Virtual Event for America’s Teens" hosted by Harris Faulkner, anchor of Fox News Channel.

This unique interactive event gave teens across America the opportunity to ask questions of some of the country’s most experienced entrepreneurs.

The panelists offered simple, straightforward strategies to empower participants to start the entrepreneurial journey in their youth and lay the foundation for a successful future.

From New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Arizona and even Durham, teens across the country had the opportunity to ask a serious of questions during the virtual town hall.

“I found myself working over 80 hours a week while in school. How do I balance my business and school,” asked Ayden Lally, a Durham student and entrepreneur.

“You don’t necessarily have to go get a job at a company. You can go create one,” said Brian Hamilton, founder of the Brian Hamilton Foundation.

That statement was the main idea of the event.

“If you put in the time, worst case, you learn something, best case, you crush it,” said Mark Cuban, co-star of the TV show "Shark Tank."

Moderated by Faulkner, the virtual summit held by Junior Achievement USA gave curious young men and woman a platform to learn financial literacy and work readiness.

“Where kids can understand how to build their business and what they need to be thinking about on developing a business plan,” said Bebee Bason Lee, president of Junior Achievement Eastern North Carolina.

“My question is, had you guys been operating your business in a current health pandemic like this one, what is some advice you would give yourself,” asked one student.

The questions ranged from the future of the tech industry, funding a startup to sales pitches, opportunity costs and where to begin during a health crisis.

“Look around,” said Cuban. “Talk to the people around you. Ask people what they need. That’s the best place to start. Because, as a kid what you typically have to sell is your time and effort."

The entrepreneurs encouraged them to find the need in the moment.

“Go cut a lawn, clean someone’s gutters, get used to turning cash. You don’t have to be a tech wizard,” said Hamilton.

The group enforced the message that there’s more to gain than there is to lose when starting entrepreneurship young. Over 5,000 students participated in the event through Microsoft Teams Live.

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