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Aug 08 2013

Young Students are Bringing on the Business

By Betsey Poore

Emma Grace Spach and Clara Pilley are awarded first place by two Bank of America employees.

Emma Grace Spach and Clara Pilley are awarded first place by two Bank of America employees.

On Friday, July 19, Lowcountry Tech Academy and YEScarolina hosted a Business Plan Competition to round out the weeklong business camp comprised of mostly middle school students. This business camp and subsequent competition was possibly thanks to a $5,000 Bank of American grant.

During the course of the week, campers learned various economic principles, what it means to make a profit, and the importance of businesses to give back to their community. This week-long course condensed important information usually taught over a semester-long entrepreneurship course.

But to the audience, these young entrepreneurs seemed like professions. All the competitors brought their best ideas to the table.

Minutes before the competition began, eight hopefuls practiced their sales pitch in front of YEScarolina Development Director Harriett Lee and their individual mentors. Then, the students listened to the feedback and tweaked their pitch before the actual competition began.

Promptly at 2 p.m., in front of an audience of parents and other campers, eight budding entrepreneurs delivered their presentations and answered tough questions posed by the judges.

The students pitched hypothetical, yet innovate business plans ranging from a solution that will fix scratched DVDs and CDs to Jerry’s Car Cleaning Company to a pillowcase that you can sleep on with wet hair.

Participants presented a mission statement, their target audience, their price and margin of income, and what their business’ local philanthropy will be.

The participants were judged based on nine criteria: product, price, promotion, place, philanthropy, feasibility, aesthetic appeal of display, creativity and uniqueness of idea, and presentation.

At the end of the competition, the judges deliberated and announced the winners.

Emma Grace Spach and Clara Pilley won the coveted first place prize of $250 for their business plan Keys For Hope Fundraising Kits. Their business plan stemmed from the existing business Keys for Hope, which sells keys for a $5 donation to raise money for Crisis Ministries, Charleston’s homeless shelter. Their fundraising kit provides materials for those who order the kit to decorate keys and includes a contract so that others may sell their keys and help raise money for Crisis Ministries.

Second place and $150 was awarded to Javier Abel of Javier’s Generators. He plans to sell generators to truck drivers so they won’t have to idle their trucks overnight. This will be more cost efficient for the drivers and better for the environment.

Finally, third place was awarded to Isabella Schettini for designing a Spanish immersion summer camp.

All of the remaining participants received $50 to invest in their business.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch sponsored this mini-business competition along with YEScarolina. Two of the Bank of America employees also sat on the panel of judges.

For more information about YEScarolina, visit www.yescarolina.com

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