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xplor, the region’s premier connector of individuals and families to businesses, brands, and events, has partnered with SLM Media (publishers of St. Louis Magazine and St. Louis Family) to launch the inaugural Kidzpreneur competition on April 13, 2019 at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Kidzpreneur offers children ages 5–13 the opportunity to pitch their best business or product ideas and win scholarships and prizes.
Kids Need a Shark Tank Too
The idea for Kidzpreneur was born after xplor co-founders Lisa Litvag and Angela Sandler competed to be on the ABC television show Shark Tank. “After watching us go through the Shark Tank process and seeing our business grow, our kids started to take interest in the idea of entrepreneurship,” says Sandler. “When we realized St. Louis didn’t have any local outlets for them to explore their business ideas, we decided to do something about it.”
Participants will gain valuable presentation experience by pitching their ideas to judges, including local business owners and mentors. In the final round, they’ll have the opportunity to win scholarships and other prizes sponsored by area businesses.
More Than a Pitch Competition
“Our goal is to shed light on entrepreneurship and youth in a fun and friendly atmosphere,” says Litvag. “Kidzpreneur is about so much more than competition. It’s about gaining invaluable experience, celebrating innovation, and showing kids that they all have what it takes to start a business one day.”
The partnership between xplor and SLM Media was a natural fit: It’s both organizations’ vision to bring communities together. “St. Louis has gained notoriety as one of the biggest startup scenes in the nation,” says SLM Media director of special events Jawana Reid. “For generations to come, it will benefit the community to have local businesses and leaders rally around our youth in such an impactful format.”
The full-day community event will include ideas, innovation, STEM/STEAM activities, food trucks, kids’ activities, a vendor village, local talks and discussions from business owners about their entrepreneurial journeys, pitch presentations, and a concluding party to celebrate the competitors’ accomplishments.
After applying, Kidzpreneur participants receive notification if their ideas are accepted and then work on their presentations. During a pre-competition Mentor Day, April 6 from 10 a.m. until noon, participants will receive advice from such prominent local figures and organizations as Build-A-Bear Workshop founder Maxine Clark, Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery founder Tamara Keefe, and Myself Belts and former Shark Tank winner Talia Goldfarb, as well as Washington University, Parkway Spark! Kids, Clayton High School, and more. Panels will be moderated by Erin Joy, CEO and Founder of Black Dress Partners.