Alasha Bennett

Alasha Bennett | September 20th, 2021
Alasha Bennett

Alasha Bennett

At just 25 years old, Alasha started her first business in Portsmouth, Virginia. “In the early 2000’s there were basically no natural hair care salons,” she recalls. Alasha filled that niche by becoming a natural hair care stylist, and quickly became highly sought after for her outstanding services. Her business flourished and, with her new financial independence, she purchased a home for her family. Alasha was living the American dream and had seemingly broken the poverty curse that plagued her family only one generation prior. But this dream life would not last forever.

When her marriage ended in divorce, Alasha found herself in the place she had worked so hard to avoid. “I struggled with how to recover. Not having the support of my husband was hard, I was devastated,” she recalls. Alasha needed financial help fast and turned to government assistance to make ends meet.

What Alasha experienced was a system that seemed to keep people stuck in an endless rut. “When you need help from social services, you experience so many emotions,” Alasha explains. “It seems as though you are worthless in their eyes, and visiting the offices can be humiliating. I found that the system didn’t give me the tools I needed to rebuild my life but punished me for needing help.”
The foundation that Alasha worked so hard to build was crumbling beneath her feet. Along with the end of her marriage, she began experiencing health issues from long hours of working as a stylist. But despite all these tremendous challenges, Alasha never gave up hope. It was then that an idea sparked in her mind. She believed that she could turn things around. “I could see that others were experiencing what I was going through, and I thought long and hard about how I could help others,” she says.

In 2016, Alasha remembered the freedom and success she felt from being an entrepreneur and how it opened doors for her she never imagined. That is how the Bennett Center came to be. As the center’s founder and CEO, Alasha works tirelessly to educate families about the power of entrepreneurship. She creates programs, builds relationships with community partners, and raises money for her organization, all while homeschooling her children.

The mission of the Bennett Center is to provide disadvantaged families with the tools, resources, and opportunities to increase their success of self-sufficiency. The goal of the Bennett Center, according to Alasha is “to close the gap of poverty in the urban areas.” “The federal poverty level is $12,082 in the United States, I want people to get out of the lost existence of trying to survive until tomorrow,” she says. The program supports families in the Hampton Roads community to reach that goal. This support goes beyond tools and resources for financial success: Alasha has taken her experiences from her childhood and divorce to help local families stay together. This includes efforts to help men affected by separation or even incarceration to rejoin and support their families. Alasha knows that families that stay united have a better chance at succeeding with entrepreneurship and creating generational wealth that provides financial stability for the future.

The Bennett Center’s programs include backpack giveaways, training workshops, and its signature program: The Kid Expo of Hampton Roads, an entrepreneurship program for children ages 5-17. The Kid Expo of Hampton Roads is a year-long program that teaches kids how to start a business. For Alasha, these sessions bring immense joy. “When I work with kids and explain the process of starting a business, it doesn’t take long before they buy into the power of being a business owner,” she says. “Watching their lightbulb moments inspires me. These are real businesses that have plans and have obtained an LLC, and we set them up for success,” she says.

Not only is Alasha educating families in the community, she is also sharing her message with her own family. “We are a family of business owners, and we are all published authors,” she says. “My seven-year-old was an author at age five, my 14-year-old is an author, has a podcast and organization for teen girls, my 22-year-old is an author and clothes designer, and my 70-year-old mom is a children’s author. “Our dinner conversations include discussions about marketing plans and how to promote our products.”

The accomplishments and conversations she has with her family are a sign of the control they’ve taken over a previously out-of-control life. The income she has established can support the hopes and dreams of her children and herself. Alasha explains, “We are the best advertisement that the Bennett Center will change your life.”

While reflecting on the success of the Bennett Center, Alasha believes there is still much more work she and the organization can do for families across Hampton Roads. “We are actively seeking volunteers to serve as members of the Board of Advisors or mentors for the students in the programs. We also want to partner with financial contributors to help families for years to come. We are the solution needed to help families feel the joy of entrepreneurship and the door it opens to a better life,” she shares.

Moving forward, Alasha plans to expand her program into an entrepreneur school. Her students will learn their normal subjects and incorporate business and vocational skills into their studies. “I want to create one big loving entrepreneur family around Hampton Roads,” she says.

To learn more about The Bennett Center, please visit their website.

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