Pathway to prosperity: Entrepreneurship at Delgado

By Jamila Cherif



Elizabeth Duet, Director of the Entrepreneurship program at Delgado Community College, City Park.


Ms. Elizabeth Duett, instructor of business technology, specializes in entrepreneurship classes, and also teaches entrepreneurial finance and small business management, which is the class that walks students through writing a business plan. ‘’I don’t like the word entrepreneurship! I think it’s big and long and nobody knows how to spell it, and we’re really about starting new businesses here,’’ Duett said.

According to Duett, the general public thinks about entrepreneurs as people like Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, Bill Gates and that’s not who we are at Delgado. We are the corner stores, we are the people that are starting the businesses from the treads and the skills students learn here at Delgado. For example, a student gets an accounting degree, goes out and starts his own book-keeping business. Thus, we’re here to support students that are going through certain programs, such as electrical science, culinary, automotive, auto repair, cosmetology, etc. They are learning these skills, mastering these trades but they’re not getting any business education to go along with it. We want to fill that need by starting a business education. Not history of business, but the actual nuts and bolts of starting a business.


The entrepreneurship program took place at Delgado a while back ago with another instructor, according to Duett, but it became real when she attended the NACCE (National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship) twice. From there, her goals became clearer to her. ‘‘I came back to Delgado and I put a sign on the closet door and called it the Small Business Center and then I made a brochure. I sent out emails, and I did my office hours in the closet in building 2,’’ Duett said. Later, her office was moved from Building 2, and was placed in Building 1. Thanks to the $20,000 grant received from Sam’s Club, Duett was finally able to move forward, hire interns and train them. The Small Business Center has several partners: the LSBDC (Louisiana Small Business Developing Center), Sam’s Club, the City of New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, to name a few.

Duett said they were very involved in NOEW (New Orleans Entrepreneur Week), with Idea Village last year, where they participated in the Resource Alley. They also had an event at Delgado called “The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour” where young entrepreneurs from all over the country came and spoke about their experiences and interacted with the students. Another successful event was the City Park Marketplace, which she said was ‘’kind of the key’’ to show Delgado that there was a need for this Small Business Center. The booth fee was $20 for the day. Students sold anything from hair products to jewelry, clothing, and a wide range of all the trades taught at Delgado. The Small Business Center’s mission was to promote local economic opportunities and to offer experiential learning for students to run/market their small businesses.

When asked about her future expectations, Duett expressed her wish to keep connection with every business that comes through the program, something she is working on. She wants to help students throughout their lives and businesses and hopes that someday they will recommend Delgado to someone else. It’s really about economic development,’’ Duett said. We want every student from this college to be able to go and open up their own business and hire people and just increase the wealth of New Orleans.

To learn more about the Small Business Center at Delgado Community College, you can contact Ms. Elizabeth Duett at eduett@dcc.edu or (504) 671-6448.

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