Brian Hamilton, founder of the Brian Hamilton Foundation, spoke recently to East Burke High School Career and Technical Education students about entrepreneurship and how it can help students succeed.

Hamilton told his story of growing up on food stamps, his parents not being able to pay medical bills and having their power cut off multiple times.



“I was raised in a lot of economic scarcity,” Hamilton said. “There is a reason I am telling you this because there are two ways up in society.”

The first way he mentioned is education and doing well in school. The second is entrepreneurship.

“Through history, the way people have risen up is through education and being an entrepreneur,” Hamilton said. “It is very important.” Hamilton started his own landscaping business to pay for his undergraduate degree, which gave him the opportunity to be the first person in his family to attend and graduate from college.

Hamilton talked with students about why people start their own businesses, how entrepreneurship works and how his foundation provides opportunities to students who may be interested in that path. He listed freedom, control of your own destiny and being able to create something as three main reasons people pursue owning their own business.

Grace Ruff, a student at East Burke who helps run Goodness Grace, a clothing boutique in Valdese, was one of the students Hamilton interviewed for being a student entrepreneur. Hamilton’s presentation at East Burke and the student interviews will be featured on his foundation’s website. The Brian Hamilton Foundation helps historically disadvantaged groups create and grow business. For more information, visit www.brianhamilton.org.

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