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MISSOURI CITY, TEXAS (July 7, 2023) – The future is in good hands, and the Kidpreneur Business Camp – an initiative led by the Missouri City Department of Economic Development – is proof. The youngsters in the program demonstrated an interest in the common good, a concern for the world around them, and the type of innovation that could revolutionize entire industries.
The Kidpreneur Business Camp took place June 27 through June 29, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Missouri City Community Center. Participants needed to be residents of Missouri City, have an idea for a business and be in grades 7 through 10.
"The idea came to my mind as a previous small business owner," said Council Member Lynn Clouser, who heads City’s the Small Business Advisory Committee. Clouser thought of the concept three years ago while still on the campaign trail.
"I wanted to start the camp because we have so many bright students right here in Missouri City that have businesses or want to start businesses," said Clouser. "What better way for us to wrap our resources around them, and give them the education and the knowledge they need so they become the next business leaders?"
For the first and second sessions, the 13 boys and girls who attended the camp learned fundamental concepts from business owners. The lectures taught them about problem solving, incorporating innovation into a business idea, and creating a business plan.
Tara Daniel from Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas, a non-profit organization that collaborated in the initiative, recognized the synergies between the goals of her organization and those of the Kidpreneur Business Camp.
"We felt that our vision aligned well with Missouri City, because I believe that together we can uplift and empower our community," said Daniel. "We have young people, and we need to boost their employability. We need to ensure they have the critical soft skills as well as the foundational skills. It takes resiliency, adaptability, and collaboration to walk into a room and not be afraid because of your ethnicity or economic background," she added.
The program culminated with a "shark tank" style presentation in which each participant pitched their business idea to a panel of judges and other attendees, including parents, business owners, and city officials.
"I think it is absolutely amazing," said judge and commercial banking executive Stephen Britz. For him, the most outstanding pitches required certain qualities.
"I was looking for two things: one that offered a practical problem solver, and one that was creative. Anyone who would hit one of these categories would see a higher score for me," said Britz.
First prize went to 14-year-old Garion Dorian Granburry. The soon-to-be Elkins High School freshman's pitch consisted of taking STEM and chess enrichment courses to underserved children using a van.
"Winning the first prize was amazing! I was surprised and really grateful," said Granburry. "The most important thing I learned," he explained, "was to never be afraid to ask for help. I would recommend this camp because you learn a lot of entrepreneur advice, and it was really helpful."
Second place went to Stephen Mathew for a pitch that involved a commercial environmental plan to combat climate change. Third place went to Lauren Kelly, who presented a business plan based on the fabrication and distribution of an innovative lemonade product.
The top three winners received a trophy, and each participant was also awarded a certificate of participation. Most importantly, each entrepreneur walked away with the experience of a lifetime that will equip them to one day become future business owners in Missouri City.
Herman Rodriguez, Missouri City's Director of Economic Development, anticipates growing the Kidpreneur program.
"Our goal," said Rodriguez, "is always to plant seeds that will manifest into future economic growth in our city. We all feel honored to participate in a program that helps empower the next generation."
Top Prize Winners of the 2023 Kidpreneur Business Camp