The Emery County Jr. Entrepreneur program began four years ago under the direction of Amanda Leonard with the help of former Emery County Economic Development Director Jordan Leonard and former Emery County Commissioner Ethan Migliori. Each participant receives a workbook that they work through in the summer workshops, a business license from Castle Dale City so they can be vendors at local community events and a t-shirt with their own business logo that they design in class. This year, they also had the opportunity to participate in Shark Tank style challenge. The Emery County Business Chamber plays a large role in managing the finances of the program and the Emery County 4-H office assists with running the club and workshops.
On Aug. 3, 14 youth business ideas were pitched to the “Sharks” and $4,000 was awarded. The original amount of $1,750 was sponsored by Emery County, Emery County 4-H and Utah State University Workforce Development. By the end of the evening, a generous donation from one of the sharks increased that award to $4,000.
Kent Wilson, who served as one of the judges, told the youth that evening that “it made my heart feel good to see the level of maturity, the concepts you had and it was hard for us to decide… What you’ve done is important and it will affect you for a lifetime.”
Another shark, Tyler Agner, the USU Small Business Development Center and Custom Fit Training Representative for Southeast Utah, said, “I would like to speak more from my educator side than my business side. What I saw was graphic design interest, 3D modeling interest, metal working and there was a lot of educational aspects tied to your businesses. This isn’t just a short little blip in your life. A lot of you, at nine years old, are looking at what you’re going to do 20 years down the road with the skill set that you’re learning right now with your businesses.”
Geri Gamber, Executive Director of the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments, also served as a shark and told the youth that “this was a very exciting night for me and it gave me some ideas to even grow this entrepreneurial ecosystem that we’re trying to create. Your ingenuity and some of your businesses fill a gap service that aren’t in the area and really can become quite a dominant business as you grow up, if that’s where you want to take it.”
The final two sharks were Tim Frame, Manager of Cache Valley Bank in Price, and Andy Urbanik, Sales Manager for KOAL. Frame told the youth, “I’ve been very impressed. A lot of the questions that we as judges asked and looked for are a lot of things that bankers or financial institutions will ask you when you are looking for a loan or help to start a business. So, you guys are already well on your way at a very young age to being successful.”
Urbanik not only left the youth with some more praise that evening, but also helped with the training workshops in July where he helped teach the youth about branding and advertising.
These youth put in hours of work and preparation for the Shark Tank Challenge and it showed in their presentations and professionalism. A big congratulations goes out to these youth for their hard work and success. Each business that presented that evening received at least $50 for their efforts.
The grand prize winners, receiving $1,000 toward their business expenses, were:
Abigail Moulton with her business Sunshine Glass
Ava Leonard and Brynn Larsen with their business Brava
Second place winners, receiving $500 toward their business expenses, were:
Dallin and Landon Braun with Metal Bros
Grace Kelly with Grace’s Pet Sitting
Third place winners, receiving $250 toward their business expenses, were:
Jaxson Clark with Scootin’ Shaved Ice
Lauren Mills with Rodent Radicator
Fourth place winners, receiving $100 toward their business expenses, were:
Sarah Miera and Emilee Mortensen with Cactus Bloom Jewelry
Adalyn Jensen with Stay Sweet Jewelry
You will find many of these businesses at multiple community events, so be sure to support them when you do! If you’d like to be notified of next year’s program dates and details, email email@example.com. This program is for youth ages 8-18 living in Emery County. They must also be members of the Jr. Entrepreneur 4-H club. Annual membership to the club is 50% off for September only, so be sure to go to 4h.zsuite.org now to renew or register.