North Carolina Entrepreneurs Featured on Web Series “The Arena”

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — The Brian Hamilton Foundation and Junior Achievement USA are inviting teen entrepreneurs to enter “The Arena,” a new periodic web series that will feature teen entrepreneurs and guest coaches.

The first webisode premiered on October 21 and featured two North Carolinians, including Ayden Lally, founder of Lite It Up, a holiday lights business, and Susan Croft, founder of Tiny Treats Bakery.

“I was a little nervous, definitely for sure, but it was awesome just meeting with people who have done this before and who know the situation I’m in,” says 12-year-old Croft.

During the quarantine, Croft decided to turn her baking skills into a business and began selling bread, cakes, and cookies online. While her business is still in its infancy, she has big plans for her future.

“In 20 years I want to have multiple locations around the country. Honestly, whether it’s this business that succeeds or a different one, I just want to have a business of my own that I can be my own boss for,” Croft says.

During The Arena, Susan and four other students were coached by Brian Hamilton, a tech entrepreneur and philanthropist, and Tracy Tutor, co-star of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing Los Angles”, on how to better their business. The episode was also hosted by Melinda Emerson, who was named Forbes’ Most Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs.

“My general advice to any parents and any kids, is to start super early. I started businesses when I was nine and 10-years-old. You learn a ton. You get a lot of muscle memory for what works, what doesn’t work, dealing with customers, dealing with workers, dealing with vendors, so start super early,” Hamilton says.

Hamilton says the rate of entrepreneurship is going down in the United States, and it’s so important to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in kids as early as possible.

To learn more about The Brian Hamilton Foundation, click here.