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Youth Entrepreneurs Shine at Annual Awards Gala

Janet Redwine Events, YouthBiz Leave a Comment

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Young Americans Center for Financial Education celebrated the accomplishments of Colorado youth business owners at the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars award ceremony and gala, presented by CoBank.  This annual event was held virtually Thursday, October 1. Beyond sales and customers, it’s clear that these entrepreneurs have gained much through business ownership and will continue to excel, thanks in part to a year-long mentorship with a Denver business leader.

Julia Doolittle, winner of the 2020 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars, received a cash prize and a year-long mentorship with Jena Hausmann, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Denver resident Julia Doolittle, age 9, started her dog business, Olaf’s Dog Cookies, as a delicious, “dog-approved” solution to calm and entice her untrained dog during neighborhood walks with her older sister.  Owning a business has taught Julia the value of determination, a quality that will help her business grow over the next year as she works with mentor Jena Hausmann, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Winning the the 12-15 Age Category was 13-year-old Maile McManis, a Denver resident and owner of Sewing with Smiles.  Since discovering and learning to use an old sewing machine two years ago, Maile’s business has grown to include two product lines: fashionable purses and eco-friendly produce bags, and Maile has recently added masks that she both sells and donates to essential workers in her community.  Guided by mentors Bob and Judi Newman, Maile will focus on marketing in the next year.

Leonard Shearer, right, won $5,000 and a year-long mentorship with Raju Patel, Denver Market President for Bank of America, for his business accomplishments.

Looking at the success of winning business Cardbound, one would never guess the owner is 18-year-old Broomfield resident Leonard Shearer.  The business resells graded Pokemon cards and accessories to collectors across the globe, and Leonard figures he has made 25,000 orders since he started in 2015.  Mentor Raju Patel, Denver Market President for Bank of America, will help Leonard with his accounting and inventory systems as they work together this year.

Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars also recognized six finalists:


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