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I really enjoyed celebrating a great week in Being Your Own Boss camp last week with a Business Expo and Shark Tank. Nearly 80 campers who had completed 5th and 6th grade worked all week on their existing businesses or new business plans and business pitches. By Friday after a pizza party and fun outside on our program deck, they all were ready to engage their friends, family, and Young Americans staff to share their ideas at the Business Expo.
Kaya was eager to share her idea about her writing service because she is so passionate about writing. Stay tuned for a blog post from her! Another young entrepreneur’s idea was “Alex’s Advice” and if you were lucky enough to attend the Expo, he was running a one-day special giving out advice for free! I asked where my next vacation should be and after a few follow up questions he confidently advised that I head to Morocco.
The other camper ideas were in tech, manufacturing, products, and services. I loved watching the confident and kind campers make eye contact, shake hands with all the Expo attendants and enthusiastically go into why they have a great idea or business, why it is so great, what problem each solves, and how each will work. Some of them even asked for emails from their future customers. I am looking forward to seeing some of these ideas come to fruition at our next Marketplace. Ian from Zabol’s jewelry was attracting people to his booth by wearing his homemade robot duct tape suit. He sells a variety of duct tape accessories with co-founder Nathaniel.
Shark Tank Pitches
We then cleaned up the Expo and started the Shark Tank pitches, where campers get to watch a business from each break-out group give their pitch in front of some great judges, campers, and parents. Talk about brave kids! Our judges were our summer intern, J.D., Jody Phillips who is Young Americans’ Development Director, Nic Ansuini – the young business owner of “Wildwood Pens,” and serial entrepreneur Tiffany Lanier from YouthBiz.
Camper Ava was brave enough to go first and pitch her idea about a cell phone case that also holds your car key in the ignition, which solves the problem of texting and driving. Elise went next and eloquently gave a pitch about her cookie company and handed out her homemade snicker doodle cookies to the judges. Peter went third and had the best margins on his holiday ornaments and gifts out of all the pitches in his company “Deck the Halls”. The last business to present was a group of three young entrepreneurs Eli, Elijah, and Jack who wanted to form a custom wood working company that was profitable, environmentally conscious, and also philanthropic. Great job to all the campers!