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For Richland College graduate Valery Perez, starting a business at age 14 was only the beginning of what she hopes will be a challenging but rewarding life as an entrepreneur.
Perez, who is now 21, graduated from Richland in May. She is the CEO of Rosealloon, which makes and sells balloons that are stuffed with personalized gifts such as flowers, teddy bears or even engagement rings.
In June, Perez won the Young Entrepreneur scholarship from consulting firm Ernst & Young and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
The award was announced at the firm's annual Entrepreneur of the Year gala in Dallas, where Perez was recognized. She was elated at the attention she received during the dinner. “I'm still trying to process all this!” Perez said. “It's all so very exciting to be recognized for my work!”
Perez launched Rosealloon when she was still in high school after she took a class about entrepreneurship at H. Grady Spruce High School in Dallas. She said the company was an experiment. “It was a family business that started as a classroom assignment,” she said. “That assignment helped my family earn some extra income.”
Perez said she's already looking forward to starting other ventures and setting an example for others. “I want to inspire young girls and other immigrants to chase their dreams and show them that the American dream is still alive and nothing is impossible for those who work hard,” Perez added.
While she was at Richland, Perez joined DECA, a collegiate entrepreneurship organization. She then transferred to Eastfield College, and she also took classes at El Centro College.
Perez said she already is looking forward to starting other ventures. “I love the thrill of starting a new business. I've been in my comfort level with Rosealloon for too long,” she said.
Perez said she will use the scholarship she won to continue her academic career at Texas Bible Institute this fall.