Yolanda Shields (middle) and Dr. Fumi Hancock (right) with Head Middle Magnet Prep student. Photo submitted

NASHVILLE, TN — Students from Head Middle Magnet Prep were introduced to entrepreneurship at a rally on May 23rd. The event was led by YES Builds CEO Yolanda Shields and Dr. Fumi Hancock.

Principal Tonja Williams stated that the talk was inspirational and motivational. “The assembly was great and several students had questions at the end and hung around to speak with the speakers privately.” Shields also touted the impact on the students. She expressed the pleasant surprise she got when asking how many of the students had people in their family who owned businesses, with a large number raising their hands.

One of the key messages Shield imparted to the students was that they are never too young to start a business, sharing with them the story of three kids who had successfully started one. An example was Memphis resident Moziah Bridges who started a bow tie company when he was 11. His success was so notable that Daymond John from Shark Tank agreed to be his mentor and has helped raise Bridges’ sales to over $200,000 a year.

Another message she had was about starting a business. She asked the students which of them thought they were ready to start a business. As part of the lesson of this question was the work required to run a successful enterprise. “When you decide

to start a business, the work has only just begun. It takes a lot of work to run a business and many people don’t realize that.”

She then asked the students to say what businesses they would start if they could. A notable one was a student who wanted to open a research company. He said he was studying chemistry because his aunt got cancer and no one could cure it. He wants his company to come up with a cure someday.

Dr. Hancock told students they are also an entrepreneur if they are a writer. The earlier they start as a writer the better. “Start taking your writing seriously now. When you are a writer, you should see yourself as an entrepreneur. It is a business.” As an illustration, she showed them a video of Maya Penn, a young girl who started animating at three years old and opened her company, Maya’s Ideas, at the age of eight. She began animating and designing clothes which were safe for the environment. She moved into accessories and now sells in the U.S., Canada, Italy, and more.

The closing proclamation from the students was, “I am more Powerful than I think! Let’s Go Innovate!” The enthusiastic response from the students, and the curiosity they expressed, makes it likely that many of them will.

Yolanda Shield can be found at www.yesbuilds.com, and Dr. Fumi Hancock can be found at www.princessinsuburbia.com