YouthBiz Startup Prototype made out of cardboard

Grant Beacon Middle School Students Solve Problems in YouthBiz StartUp

Janet Redwine YouthBiz Leave a Comment

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“An entrepreneur is someone who builds something to make the world a better place.” –Jesalee, sixth grader at Grant Beacon Middle School, YouthBiz StartUp Participant

On Tuesday, May 21, young entrepreneurs from Grant Beacon Middle School pitched their world-changing business ideas to wrap up their fourth quarter YouthBiz StartUp class.  Business pitches proved that these 13 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders can provide creative solutions to solve everyday problems!

At Grant, all students participate in Extended Learning Opportunities during the last part of the day, Monday through Thursday.  According to the Grant Beacon website, enrichments give students a chance to try something new, explore new interests or expand on what they have learned in school and apply it in a different way.  Students can choose to participate in sports like long-boarding or karate, in arts/cultural activities like hip hop or improv, in STEM extra-curriculars like robotics, aerospace, or in academic experiences like YouthBiz.  Beacon Network Schools’ Tracey Brummett coordinates these classes for both Grant Beacon and Kepner Beacon Middle Schools.

Students stand around judges at table pitching business

Jahiem, Ty, and Richard, creator of The Water Pillow, answer the judges’ questions during their pitch as part of YouthBiz StartUp at Grant Beacon Middle School.

By participating in YouthBiz StartUp, students learn about themselves and others, compose their own power team, develop and research a business idea, create a prototype, and finally pitch their business to a panel of judges.  Winners take home a $100 cash prize.

This quarter, 13 students signed up for YouthBiz StartUp, including 14-year-old Jahiem.  This was Jahiem’s second time in the class, and he was in it to win it.  “I’ve put in a lot more effort this time around,” said Jahiem whose dream is to be an entrepreneur.  Jahiem collaborated with Richard, age 13, and Ty, age 12 to create a business called The Water Pillow.  The three boys are in different grades and reside in different neighborhoods, and so part of their challenge was learning how to work together.  “We had to learn how to cooperate with each other,” said Richard.  Jahiem added that YouthBiz is, “A great way to get to know more people.”

Judges (L-R) Rosie Wolf from Capital One, Brittany Aylmer from Amica, and Matt Gordon from Microsoft awarded top honors to Madison, creator of “Snack em’s.”

Judges were impressed by The Water Pillow and each of the other five business presentations, but it was 12-year-old Madison who ended up winning.  Madison’s “Snack-em’s” had appeal beyond her creative business name by providing healthy, high-quality snacks using all-natural ingredients.  “When you’re hungry, you can still eat a healthy snack,” said Madison during her presentation.  Judge Matt Gordon, Managing Architect at Microsoft, praised Madison’s passion for her business and added, “I want to buy some!”

Facilitator Anna Leer, Vice President of YouthBiz, also admired the group’s business pitches.  “I watched students who were petrified of public speaking confidently present to a panel of judges today.  They should all be so proud of their accomplishments, whether they won or not!”

To learn about YouthBiz StartUp or if for more information about implementing this hands-on learning program in your school, please contact Anna Leer: or 303-320-3251.

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