Delphine Dauphine, 10, begged her mom since she was 4 years old to let her start her own business. By age 7, her mom relented and she started her own cupcake business.
Taylor Moxey, 13, just wanted new dolls when she was 7, but her parents wanted her to learn the value of money management. To buy her own dolls and accessories, she had to make her own money. So, she, too, started her cupcake business at age 7.
Delphine’s business —Joy’s Yummy Cupcakes —now sells 200 cupcakes on the weekends and caters birthday parties and weddings. Taylor has since branched out from her business —Taylor the Chef —and speaks at conferences, has a Ted Talk and has established a foundation to build libraries around the world.
At this year’s Youth Economic Development Conference (YEDC) held recently at Miami Dade College North Campus, they taught around 500 how to start their own businesses and become youth entrepreneurs.
“It’s never too early to learn,” said Saliha Nelson, founder and head of the conference and vice president of Urgent, Inc., a Miami-based organization that empowers youth to impact their communities in positive ways.
For the past six years, hundreds of teens and college students across Miami-Dade County between 14 and 21 have attended the two-day conference. They’ve learned about business, entrepreneurship and the arts and entertainment industry while connecting with local businesses and professionals in those fields. Every year, attendees can participate in hands-on financial literacy, professional development and career exploration workshops, business vendor fairs and youth film festivals.
In past years, YEDC was a two-day event at MDC’s North Campus that attracted mostly youth from Overtown, Liberty City and Little Haiti. With the help of Daniella Levine Cava, the Miami-Dade commissioner who represents South Miami-Dade, organizers added a one-day conference at MDC’s Homestead Campus.
At this year’s conferences, attendees learned how to boost their resumes on LinkedIn, tap into the tourist and theatrical industries, develop coding skills and become a kid entrepreneur, among other sessions. North Campus’ conference culminated in a business pitch competition in which Taylor was a judge.
The winners, twins Sandra and Sarena Noel, pitched Noelle’s Gardens, a service that helps people plant and maintain gardens in their backyards for a fee. Jean Monestime, a Miami-Dade commissioner, and the Dade Federal Credit Union were impressed by their business acumen.
“We’re putting young people in front of these folks who they couldn’t get to by themselves,” Nelson said.
Taylor, whose foundation has built libraries in the Bahamas and Palm Beach and plans to build more in Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia and Haiti, wants people young and old to know that their age doesn’t stop their potential.
“If you really have a passion for something, go out and make it happen,” she said. “Those who say they can and those who say they can’t are both usually right.”