Anthem twelve-year-old starts entrepreneurial venture, learns valuable, life-long business lessons
PHOENIX (April 21, 2008) – Gumball machines, middle school students and founders of multi-million dollar corporations aren’t often associated with each other in the minds of most people. However, a new financial education company plans to make Arizonans think just that. Just speak with twelve-year-old Anthem resident Sidney Johnson and the connection becomes obvious. Johnson began her journey as an entrepreneur this past Thursday with the aid of a YOUTHpreneur gumball machine, a little business wit and the encouragement of the Anthem community. YOUTHpreneur, an Arizona based financial education company founded by financial expert Sharon Lechter, is preparing today’s youths to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs through a unique education package. Targeted towards children starting in elementary through middle and high school, the YOUTHpreneur business model kit includes deliverables like the pitch and thank you letter and is centered on a gumball machine. The intent of the kit is to instill within kids the basic financial principles that will drive their entrepreneurial spirit through experiential learning. Children working with the YOUTHpreneur gumball machine must seek out a business within their community to place their machine in, pitch the proposition to the business, thank them and maintain the gumball machine. A full restock of the machine will net the kid owner a $212.50 gross profit and teach them valuable lessons in placement, pitching and other entrepreneurial skills. Johnson agreed to become the very first kid to step up to the YOUTHpreneur challenge and learn the valuable, life-long business lessons that will help her throughout her life. After diving in to the YOUTHpreneur business kit and learning how to seek out a business to place her machine in, she settled upon Mobil 1 Lube Express. Johnson settled on the site because of the owner’s previous community involvement and the high traffic volume through his business. Michael Mielnicki, owner of the Mobil 1, was more than willing to support Johnson’s new business opportunity. He was also her first customer. “I really wish they had this sort of thing when I was a kid,” said Mielnicki. “I’m glad to be the first business owner to be a part of the YOUTHpreneur mission.” Over the course of the next several weeks Johnson will return to check up on her gumball machine, maintain its functionality, re-stock the machine and reap the benefits of her entrepreneurial venture. Johnson is just the first of many kids that will learn from the YOUTHpreneur kit. In partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix, YOUTHpreneur and its course instructors will offer 100 kids the chance to develop the entrepreneur within themselves in a 6-week course. Boys & Girls Club teams of three kids will receive a YOUTHpreneur gumball machine and business kit. The course will begin in June 2008.