I recently had the pleasure of visiting a group of kids in an after-school program called Kids For Careers, to talk about entrepreneurship and we did something really cool. First I shared with them how poor choices resulted in me spending nearly a decade in prison and why I decided to become an entrepreneur. While incarcerated I learned the definition of ENTREPRENEUR, someone who develops an enterprise around an innovative idea, manages the business and assumes the risk for its success.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, the only risk I took was with my life and freedom. Dropping out of school left me with very few options to succeed in life, so I thought. I think education is a must but should also include entrepreneurship as an alternative to working a traditional job, especially when we live in a society where structural racism is still a thing. One of the things I love about being an entrepreneur is that it gives people the freedom to create their own opportunities without any limitations but their own, therefore I was really excited to talk to this group of kids about business.
After I told the kids my story, I asked them several questions:
“Does anyone know what any entrepreneur is?
“Does anyone know what a business is?“
“Can anyone tell me what a business plan is?”
We went over the definition of each of those words and a few other important words I thought they should know, then I split the kids into two groups and informed them that they would be participating in their first business pitch competition!
To make it fun and interesting each group had one minute to come up with a business name. The first group came up with Shadow Inc., they were thinking big out the gate. The second group decided on DNS Jewelry, combing the first letter of each of their names, which I thought was pretty cool.
For their next tasks, they had 2 minutes to figure out what products or services their business would offer; 2 minutes to determine the current problem in the market, 2 minutes to figure out how their business would solve it, 2 minutes to explain what made their business unique, and finally 2 minutes to come up with why people should buy what they were selling.
Once they had everything written down on their poster boards they were ready for the 60-Second Pitch Competition, with the best pitch winning cash. Both teams did incredibly well and came up with some really innovative ideas. Kids For Careers, Coordinator, Kristie Douglass, said she has never seen her group of teens so engaged.
Shadow Inc., sold products such as black hats, black shoes, colognes, and perfumes to other businesses for resale. DNS Jewelry, customized and sold replica jewelry worn by the most popular celebrities. The result of the pitch was a tie, and I think the judges made a very good decision on that! Kids For Careers, Coordinator, Kristie Douglass, said she has never seen her group of teens so engaged.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, both teams, on their own, decided to create company logos… now, how cool is that?