Irmo rising-middle schooler wins Black Enterprise's 2018 Teenpreneur of the Year

Irmo rising-middle schooler wins Black Enterprise's 2018 Teenpreneur of the Year
Updated: Jul. 3, 2018 at 3:05 PM EDT
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IRMO, SC (WIS) - An Irmo sixth-grader has won a prestigious award for her local business.

Gabrielle Goodwin was named the Black Enterprise's 2018 Teenpreneur of the year at an awards banquet in Charlotte last month. She's known for her own barrette company, GaBBY Bows.

"Winning this award means the world to me," Goodwin said. "I am honored to inspire other girls and thankful to represent Black Enterprise."

Goodwin and her mother launched and began selling her barrettes at the age of seven through her personal online store in February 2014. In less than four years, it has excelled to new heights selling in nine different countries.

In addition to her recent success, Goodwin was named the 2015 South Carolina Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the youngest to ever receive the award. Goodwin and her mother were also named as one of 15 national finalists for the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration InnovateHER competition. GaBBY Bows also was named the 2016 SCORE Foundation Outstanding Diverse Business of the Year.

"When Gabrielle started this journey, she was very timid. I vividly recall her crying during the first video we recorded for the brand—so much so we had to delete most of her lines," mother Rozalynn said. "Eventually she calmed down. It's hard to believe that ever happened when people see her delivering a keynote presentation to 300 adults at a business conference now! Watching her grow in courage and confidence has been the most rewarding for her father and me."

Goodwin recently graduated from the Escolares Academy at Harbison West Elementary. She said the experiences gained from the program have proven to be invaluable to her business.

"I learned 'you just have to roll with it.' That is a motto my most recent teacher Ms. Stevens always said," Goodwin explained. "My teachers support me and give me words of advice and encouragement, and the Escolares program has helped me relate activities and lessons so well to my business."

Goodwin has plans to introduce new accessory solutions later this year and also will share lessons she's learned through online courses for children, and empower the next girl bosses through micro-franchising her company.

"It's my dream for girls who look up to me to be CEOs just like me," Goodwin said with a smile.

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