Earlier this summer, 13-year-old Jaequan Faulkner was reported to the Minneapolis Department of Health for operating his Mr. Faulkner’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs stand without a license outside his Minnesota home.
But instead of shutting down the teen’s operation — which was in support of raising funds to buy new school clothes — the agency has decided to pitch in and assist Faulkner with his entrepreneurial efforts.
According to the Associated Press, the department’s environmental health director, Daniel Huff says the agency was excited to help a young man with such drive. In addition to the Department of Health, Faulkner also received business advice from nonprofit organization Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON), which aims to empower “underserved entrepreneurs” in North Minneapolis and surrounding communities.
“When I realized what it was, I said, ‘No, we’re not going to just go and shut him down’ like we would an unlicensed vendor,” Huff told KCPQ-13. “We can help him get the permit. Let’s make this a positive thing and help him become a business owner.”
In addition to serving the community with his delicious brand of hot dogs, Faulkner is also thinking about donating some of his earnings to charities that help people with depression.
Ann Fix, a program manager for the Northside Food Business Incubator through NEON and Appetite for Change, went on to underscore Huff’s comments by offering support to the business savvy teen.
“We’ve been working with Jaequan on the business side of things, like basic business, finance, marketing, pricing… he’s really been excited about all of it,” she said to local NBC News affiliate, Kare11.
For Faulkner, who has been operating with his new permit since July 16, receiving the city’s support further validates his business decision.
“Surprisingly, I’m like, dang the city’s not the bad guys in this situation,” he explained to Kare11. “They’re actually the ones who are helping me,” Faulkner said. “It makes me feel kind of—not kind of—really proud that people know what I’m doing.”