14-year-old entrepreneur honored at Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce’s Awards

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce has recognized six small businesses at its first-ever Central Valley Small Business Awards Breakfast.

These Fresno-based businesses have been honored for the job growth they have brought to the community.

The youngest winner was 14-year-old entrepreneur Jalen Bailey.

He shares, “Jalen’s Bakery started when I was 8. I was thinking of a way to buy myself and my mom a house.”

Jalen started his online business in 2016. Since then he has shipped hundreds of cookies all over the world.

Tara Linn Gray, director of the California office of the Small Business Advocate, is motivated by Jalen’s story.

“For me, this highlights the importance of entrepreneurship education, the importance of parents sowing seeds and telling their children that they really can do anything,” says Tara.

There are 4.2 million small businesses in California, a state which is itself the fifth largest economy in the world.

Keynote speaker Dee Dee Myers was President Clinton’s press secretary. Now she works to spur economic development in California.

“Hundreds of thousands of small businesses here that really keep the economy going, and we, the State of California and the Office of Business and Economic Development, really wanted to support those businesses, especially in the wake of COVID,” says Myers.

A diverse crowd of nearly 100 people at the event included members of the local Hispanic and Hmong chambers of commerce.

“When we recognize and honor our small business and the commitment it has to our community, we help inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to step up and do the same,” says Kaya Herron of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce.

The Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce plans to host the Central Valley Small Business Awards for years to come.

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