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If asked to describe a young entrepreneur, you reminisce about buying lemonade from your 8-year-old neighbor last summer. But Young Americans Center for Financial Education would like you introduce you to an inspiring group of young entrepreneurs, YouthBiz Stars, who have business accomplishments that are impressive even by adult standards.
Young Americans has honored the accomplishments of youth entrepreneurs since 2002 at an annual business competition, now called the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars, presented by CoBank. Business competition applications are accepted each spring, and this year’s deadline is on May 19.
Sweet Bee Sisters, owned by Lily (17), Chloe (15), and Sophie (13) Warren, earned top honors at Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars in 2017. These sisters create lip balm, lotions, scrubs, and more out of beeswax harvested from their own beehives. Throughout the year, their mentor Traci Lounsbury, Founder of Workplace ELEMENTS, has helped improve the business marketing strategy and grow revenue. Most recently, Sweet Bee Sisters has partnered with Snooze, an AM eatery, to offer a special Mother’s Day gift for Moms dining at Snooze on Sunday, May 13. “We’re excited to watch the Sweet Bee Sisters grow, and are proud to be a small part of their story,” says David Birzon, the CEO of Snooze who met Lily, Chloe, and Sophie at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award dinner last year. “They are the very definition of entrepreneurs.”
RJ Duarte (17) and Owen Johnson’s (17) business, GreenWorx Landscapingis a YouthBiz Star winner from 2015. RJ started mowing lawns near his neighborhood when he was just eight years old, pulling a lawn mower and weed-wacker in a red wagon. Since then, the business has grown to employ five to six employees every summer with an annual revenue of around $100,000 a year. In a recent article in Lawn & Landscape, RJ and Owen credit Young Americans with jumpstarting their business success. “We realized this wasn’t just a summertime job but that we could take this to the next level,” said Owen.
A YouthBiz Star finalist from 2010, Allison (18) is the founder of The Stink Bug Project, now a program of Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation. Her dog Coco, which she adopted through the Prison-Trained K-9 Companion Program, helped Allison through chemotherapy and lengthy hospital stays as a result of a brain tumor. Wanting to help other kids, too, Allison sold lemonade and dog treats to help pair other kids acquire their own loyal companions. According to Rocky Mountain Kids Magazine, a quarterly publication of Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation, The Stink Bug Project has matched 90 dogs with families throughout Colorado and surrounding states.
Young Americans Center for Financial Education is on a search for this year’s YouthBiz Stars! Youth business owners, ages 6-21, are encouraged to apply for the competition which offers valuable business advice to all applicants. A winner and two finalists in each of three age categories earn a cash prize, and winners are also paired with a mentor, a Denver-area adult business leader who helps guide the young person’s business strategy and development for a year. This year’s mentors include Margaret Kelly, former CEO of Re/Max, Bahman Shafa, President, Focus Property Group, and Scott Wylie, CEO and Chairman of First Western Trust.
The application is simple, and coaches are available to help. Apply onlineby May 19.