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Alasha Bennett And Her Youth Business Program

Alasha Bennett is on a mission to empower youth and families through entrepreneurship. With her youth business program, she’s teaching children as young as five how to build their own businesses, providing them with essential skills and resources to succeed. Through events like the Kid Expo, Bennett creates opportunities for young entrepreneurs to showcase their talents and gain real-world experience.
#AlashaBennett, #YouthEntrepreneurship, #KidExpo, #CommunityDevelopment, #YouthEmpowerment

By Melissa Spellman
Staff Reporter
New Journal and Guide

Alasha Bennett is a local entrepreneur whose goal is to help bring families out of poverty by teaching them how to build businesses – starting with the young. She is preparing for her summer youth business program and the August 2024 Kid Expo in Richmond, Virginia.

Bennett founded the Bennett Center in 2016. Originally from New York, she came to Hampton Roads in 1999. A hair stylist for over 17 years, business comes second nature to this entrepreneur.

It was when she began homeschooling her children that she had the idea of helping other families.

“I have always been an entrepreneur. Homeschooling my kids, they are seeing their mom as an entrepreneur, and I am teaching them the ways of being an entrepreneur. How can I help other families? How can I help other families learn how to get in this grove as well because children should be learning these things at an early age, and they are not,” said Bennett.

She went on to say, “The Bennett Center was born out of creating a school that teaches entrepreneurship. If we help the kids get businesses, the whole family comes out of poverty.”

Bennett’s program takes families from the starting line to the finish line of creating a business. The kids in her program range from ages five to 17.

“I started them at age five because my son was five when he started his business,” shared Bennett. “We take them through a 12-week program, and at the end of the program they actually have a legal business. So, all through the program we are teaching them social media, business banking, marketing. They learn a pitch, create a business plan and logo. We take them from a concept to an actual business in those 12 weeks,” said Bennett.

In her last session, all the kids also became published authors.


Bennett’s relationship with the children and the families extends far past the 12-week program. “At the end of this 12-week program the students have an EIN, their LLC, their business banking. It’s off and running. They stick with us, we stick with them, we mentor them through the years. We do events together. It’s continuing education and now they’re in a community. The next thing we are doing is a podcast,” said Bennett. The podcast will allow the kids to talk about their businesses and give them more exposure.

Bennett’s program is held at The Hive in Virginia Beach, and Bloom in Portsmouth will hold their summer program. “Now we have two locations. The summer program will be on Wednesdays in Portsmouth and on Saturdays in Virginia Beach,” said Bennett.

The Bennett Center’s major event of the year and the culmination of the participation in the youth business program is the Kid Expo. This year will be their 4th Kid Expo.

Bennett describes the event. “The Kid Expo is where we take all the kids that have been with us for the year going through our program and we take some other kids who are interested. We put them all in a room and we allow them to sell their goods and services.”

This year’s Kid Expo will be held in Hampton Roads on August 3 at a location is to be announced. Also on August 17,  the Kid Expo will expand outside of Hampton Roads and will be held at the Greater Richmond Convention Cener in Richmond, Virginia.

She shared what participants can expect at the expo, “The judges come around and judge all the youth businesses and then score it, and they are given grants for participation.” The youth are also judged on things like concept and pitch.

Bennett wants to teach Black and Brown communities through the youth business program how we can set ourselves up financially to be successful so that we are able to do other things in life that we would like to do. Bennett says, “Not only building businesses but buying homes, investing, and being able to travel. Not always having to worry about where their next meal is coming from. How they’re going to pay their light bill. If they can afford to go to college.”

To participate in the youth business program summer session or the Kid Expo on August 3 in Hampton Roads, or August 17 in Richmond call (757) 754-0559 or admin@thebennettcenter.com.

The expo on August 3 is free and open to the public. Come support the youth as they sell their goods and services. There will be characters, a photo booth, face painting, and everything is run by kids.

The Bennett Center serves the seven cities of Hampton Roads. To volunteer as a speaker, mentor or to donate to the Bennett Center contact Alasha Bennett at (757) 754-0559 or admin@thebennettcenter.com.


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