10/27/17 Pitch And Learn

I have to say---on the $tart-Up! front it was a relatively quiet week. Strange, huh? It must be all of those kiddos hard at work with the upcoming market now less than TWO WEEKS AWAY! Though quiet, it wasn’t without its lack of excitement.

A few weeks ago, business consultant and sustainable business practice expert, Kelly Bethke, joined our team. With her help and guidance, we have set out to start seeking grants to help ensure the continual success, support, and access of $tart-Up! to our students both current and future. As we have ventured down this path, it’s been exciting---yet terrifying to access the incredible things that lay in store for $tart-Up! I think this has been the first time since starting this journey I sat down and really hashed out numbers, analyzed growth, and started to envision what potential is to be had. I have to admit, I feel so small looking at the big picture, not to mention, I started seeking out advisory members this week. For those of you unfamiliar with the non-profit world, you might find yourself asking what is an advisory board? Well, it’s a committee that is made of up well seasoned, experienced business professional that offer counsel on the organizations scaling, growth, and vision, as well as serve to provide accountability of their mission. People that sit on the board range from various fields, law, finance, business, marketing, PR, etc. Here I am, this woman who comes from the education world, asking people of power to commit their time to me… to my vision and goals. It’s slight intimidating and again, a little terrifying. As I routinely do, I turned to find wisdom in the words of someone else. This time it was the empowering words of Tracee Ellis Ross I found comfort in. “I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be, to inspire me and not terrify me.”


Enough about the back-end development of $tart-Up! Let’s get to the fun and talk about what those kids are up too.

EA: We held out second class at Emergent Academy this week. Students came in prepared and excited to develop their logo and business brand. To start class, we played the $tart-Up! Buck Challenge that the Ditmar group played last week. Students had five bucks and five minutes to collect as many $tart-Up! bucks as they could by challenging their peers to a coin toss, thumb wrestling, or rock, paper, scissors. Our champion had accrued 16 bucks from his victories. We used this experience to chat about investing and failure. Sometimes you don’t get the return you expect but that doesn’t mean you should give up.

Next, we discussed the upcoming market and I had reassured students that while they are welcome to participate, it is no way at all mandatory. This class had approximately three weeks before they had to have their business ready to launch and I wanted them to understand, they shouldn’t feel rushed or pressured. Our logo expert Ron Martin joined us again to discuss logos and their importance to your business. 


Students enjoyed his slide show, finding hidden images and the challenge to identify as many of the 40 common logos shown to them in eight seconds. Mr. Martin used this game to show them, while they didn’t have enough time to read roads, they eye recognized the logo---the company’s brand. 

Following the presentation, students were busy at work on their logos. Students picked key points they felt described their business and went right to work. By the end of class, most had finished or were close to finishing! It’s been really neat watching these determined kiddos at work. I polled students before they left on the likelihood of their participation in the market and every single student had set the goal to participate! I can’t wait to see what they put together! 

EE: This week at Eanes Elementary, we mixed things up a bit. With the last two weeks dedicated to project work, I wanted to shift the focus to selling their idea. So, at Eanes, we had a pitch party!

Class opened with the $tart-Up! Buck Challenge and our winner doubled his dollars and collected 10 $tart-Up! Bucks. 

Once we finished, I explained to students myself, our mentor, Kurt West, from American Dream Vacations, and our Power of the Purse volunteers would be busy providing feedback on each group as their presented their pitch. Students had the options to work quietly and independently or join our panel to ask questions and provide feedback. I was floored that just about EVERY STUDENT chose to serve on the panel. We had a few students who drifted away to work---but always returned with interest to ask questions to their fellow peers. I loved watching how they supported each other, and a lot of the time they asked some great questions.

One by one students went to the stage and “pitched” their business. Students who were nervous at first, lightened as they talked about their business---their vision, and everything they did to create it. Our Sass Snow girls explained how they tested several types of glue to find the best glue that wouldn’t be water soluble. Our Rice Cream boys shared some of their early discovery’s perfecting their recipe in bulk size, Care Collar founder mentioned how her first two prototypes didn’t work, but found the version that she felt worked best! Each group, spoke from the heart. 

The panel raised some great questions that, without that experience many students might not have thought of. All in all, I think our pitch party was quite the success and learning tool for our young entrepreneurs.

DIttmar: Due to family travel, our DIttmar Park and Rec location opted to have project work at home this week. We will pick classes back up next week!

So, there you have it, our quiet little week at $tart-Up! Until next time, stay curious!


Amber Wakem