ST. PETERSBURG —Davontae Marquis Dawson, Jr. proudly announces his name while being careful to annunciate each letter so that the spelling is accurate.
“I wanted to do a lemonade stand because I got a good report card and my mom and dad bought it for me. I like to sell stuff so I said, ‘Let me put it to use,’” confirmed Dawson.
His initial set up profited only $6, but being a businessman far beyond his years, Davontae has an understanding of business principles.
He borrowed a line from the movie “A Field of Dreams” that said: “If you build it, they will come.” And come they did.
Davontae and his team set up a couple days later and added a few more products and signs promoting his business. The plan worked. This time out he netted a $50 profit.
“I’m the oldest of my brother and sister. I’m 11 years old. My sister, Danila Dawson is six years old and my brother Dillion is three,” Davontae explained. “My brother and sister are very helpful with my lemonade stand. They like to help me clean up around the house. They are like my little helpers.”
Davontae knows one of the keys to having a successful business is keeping your employees happy and they’ll keep your customers satisfied.
Business is not his only interest. His parents recognized ever since he was little, he wanted to be an inventor. In the future, he plans to become an engineer and is currently involved in a S.T.E.M. program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at Thurgood Marshall Middle School.
He’s also in the gifted program there, where each year the students have an opportunity to attend an invention convention that requires them to invent something. Davontae looks forward to this event.
“This kid is absolutely incredible,” exclaimed proud mother Aisha Dawson. “He likes to take things around the house and make something out of it.”
Gushing about her son, Dawson said Davontae consistently makes excellent grades and has an entrepreneur spirit to boot. She said her little businessman is strong-willed, articulates well and is very intelligent, all things needed to become your own boss.
“He always comes up with ways and ideas to earn an income for himself,” said Dawson, who revealed that he takes the money and buys gifts for his younger siblings and his mom and dad, Davontae, Sr.
The Weekly Challenger isn’t the first media outlet to come calling for Davontae. When he was four years old, he was featured on Bay News 9 as part of their Everyday Hero series for saving a life.
While being babysat by his great-grandmother Jamie Leshore, she started having a seizure. Davontae picked up the phone and dialed 911. He didn’t know the address of the house, but he knew that it was near a fire station. He guided the paramedics to the home where they were able to treat his great-grandmother in time, saving her life.
In another heroic effort, Davontae was so moved by the financial needs expressed by the local 5000 Role Models, a dropout prevention program that encourages male students to graduate high school and attain higher education, he decided to do something about it.
Not a stranger to the oven since he helps out in the family business of cooking dinners, he baked cookies and cupcakes and sold them throughout his neighborhood. After earning nearly $100, he donated the proceeds to the program.
So if you’re driving by 2019 12th St. S, over the Christmas holidays, stop off and have some lemonade or hot cocoa and take a minute to chat with this incredible young man. You just may be speaking with the next Bill Gates.