Youth Empowerment through Leadership


BiGAUSTIN’s first youth entrepreneurship program closes with great success

There are few things more powerful than a good business idea in the hands of a brilliant young entrepreneur. Last month, BiGAUSTIN held its first ever BiGSTEP (Startup for Teens in Entrepreneurship Program), a four-day long youth entrepreneurship camp which culminated in a “Shark Tank”

style business pitch competition. Each day, 15 high school students engaged in sessions that covered various aspects of entrepreneurship, marketing, and financial literacy. During these sessions, the different topics were discussed via presentations by subject matter experts such as Gary Hoover, Ria Griffin (owner of a local Smoothie King Franchise),

representatives from local marketing firm Sanders/Wingo, and employees from both Frost and Chase banks, among others. Students interacted with the speakers, asking many questions and receiving invaluable advice. Games were also used throughout the week as a break from presentations, and as additional learning tools. One such game, “Blast the Money Trap”, allowed students to think about how they spend their money, helping them distinguish between necessary and extraneous spending.

That’s not all, though. Throughout the four days the students also worked in teams on business proposals to present to a panel of judges at the end of the session. Five teams had four days to come up with a business idea, think through their product/service, identify a target market and how to advertise to that market, calculate the startup costs, and present it all to a panel of judges in a 3-5 minute talk. The business ideas were

as diverse as the students themselves, ranging from an organic bakery, to a landfill waste removal company, to a pair of eyeglasses that project a virtual computer screen in front of you.

The students brought a vast array of skills to the table. One student spoke five languages, one was fascinated with the concept of creating energy through waste renewal, and one

currently attends the highly acclaimed Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. A number of students were brought to the program from the African American Youth Harvest Foundation, a key partner that made the program such a success.

The program’s goal was to empower students by putting them in charge of their very own business idea, and give them complete free rein in choosing how they would execute it. Seeing the presentations was truly inspiring for the judges as well as the BiGAUSTIN staff. Amina Sawyer, coordinator for the BiGSTEP program, said “the presentations were incredibly creative and innovative. They really showcased just how intelligent, hard-working, and diverse this group of students was.” The participants enjoyed the social aspect of the program; learning about entrepreneurship while also networking and making new friends. We can only hope that one day these new friendships will blossom into successful business partnerships.

Success Stories

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