Pint-sized PS 329 ‘entrepreneurs’ become business owners

Snip, snip hooray! Pint-sized “entrepreneurs” at PS 329 in Coney Island show off their new business skills at a grand opening sale!
Photo by Bob Hacken

Savvy PS 329 students concluded their Empowering Young Entrepreneurs Program by holding a grand opening sale on Jan. 25 to showcase their new business skills, hawking decorated supplies, revamped bric-a-brac, and healthy munchies to raise a cool $1,200 for the Coney Island school — and impress Mom and Dad with their commercial wits.

“Bling” was the buzz word at the eye-popping stall run by second graders Jonathan Asante, David Mozeb, Alycia Byrd Richardson, Anaya Chandler and Lisa Lodge, where customers snapped up pencils decorated with glitter and sparkles. Nearby, 10-year-olds Kiajah Wiggins and Justin Richardson sported “I am a young entrepreneur” T-shirts and hustled healthy salads to teachers. And 7-year-old Diana Duchimaza was so inspired by a pretty bookmark she bought that she opened up a book right on the spot.

Assistant Principal Lisa Lafontant checks out the sparkly pencil stall of biz whizzes (from left) Jonathan Asante, 8; Alycia Byrd Richardson, 7; David Mozeb, 8; Anaya Chandler, 7; and Lisa Lodge, 7.
Photo by Bob Hacken

But the goods were far from just random objects.

“Students searched for a need within the school and created a business around that,” said Principal Salema Marbury. “There was a lot of research and mathematics involved.”

From the mouths of babes! Kiajah Wiggins (left) and Justin Richardson, both 10, hawk healthy greens.
Photo by Bob Hacken

Marbury formed the program three months ago to teach youngsters the ABCs of business, such as devising a business plan, creating a product, and then marketing and selling it, with democratically elected student chief executive officers leading the charge.

“It’s really important for children to have options when they grow up,” the principal added. “The American Dream is what our country is based on.”

Jazmin Afanador, 10, shows off a healthy salad she made for her teachers that’s yummy, too.
Photo by Bob Hacken

Marbury picked her husband’s business brains for the project — he owns a barbershop in Coney Island and has worked with professional sports apparel lines — although she wants to recruit members of the local business community to assist and fund the program, moving forward.

The money from the sale will help to buy air conditioners for the school, but there’s no price to be placed on the thrill her students are getting out of starting their homespun ventures, the principal bragged.

Diana Duchimaza, 7, is inspired to take a word journey.
Photo by Bob Hacken

“They are having the time of their lives!”

Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2529.

More from Around New York