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What is a Girlpreneur?
Left to right: Judges Tanya Holland, Sonja Perkins, winner Ester, judges David Ahrens & Meaghan Rose, and BizWorld CEO Thais Rezende
By David Ahrens, Advisory Board Member, BizWorld
Recently I was a judge for the Girlpreneur Competition, sponsored by Bizworld.org, at The Hive in Oakland. Of course, how could the afternoon not be fun and entertaining, right? Well, it most certainly was that, but it was also so much more. I thought I would impart my years of business knowledge and experience with the next generation (which I did). But, I was shocked at how much I learned and how inspired I was by these talented and ambitious girls. They made a significant impression on me I don’t think I’ll ever forget. They taught me!
What is a BizWorld Girlpreneur? This year, the finalists ranged in age from 11 to 15. They ALL had fantastic (and very viable) business ideas, and more importantly, all of them had developed a vision for their products and their companies that blew my socks off! As judges, Sonja, Tanya, Meaghan and I had a really difficult time choosing just one winner. In my mind, they were all winners, a feeling shared by my co-judges. But as an entrepreneur or executive knows, sometimes you just have to make a decision.
Contestants Natalie & Diana impress the judges
Here's a quick run down of our final competitors: Lilianna’s Jackie Bear Cookies not only taste good, they fit into a well-conceived vision for a social enterprise that will both educate children (and us grown-ups too) about how to be better environmental stewards and contribute to the reduction of global warming. Pretty impressive for an 11 year old! The People’s Choice winner, Kavi, has already designed a beautiful user experience on her Chew IQ app. What a huge accomplishment - even today many large companies haven’t figured out yet their UI/UX (user interface/user experience), so I say call Kavi!! Twins, Natalie and Diana had such a well thought out and professional presentation for Galleree, it was jaw dropping even for our seasoned, uber-accomplished venture capitalist judge, Sonja Perkins. I talked to a few adults who are ready to buy their product today! Erika with her Shopping Mate application, stunned me with the sheer brilliance of matching the right technology with the right audience at the right time. I have personally committed to helping her move her business forward and a colleague has said to me "I'm interested in investing, show me more." That just speaks for itself. And last, but certainly not least, Ester and her Grand Prize winning business, Beadphones, earned a deafening cheer from the audience as her name was announced as the winner. Ester's product is a very practical, feasible and innovative example of knowing your market and fixing a common problem experienced by all, AND creating a beautiful consumer product that has all the market potential for success. After the competition, there were children lining up to find out how to buy Ester’s product.
Young ladies, you are wonderful examples of the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders and best of all, human beings.
So what is a Girlpreneur? She is powerful, amazing, inspiring. She is hardworking, tenacious and optimistic. She has everything to be proud of and much to look forward to. She is a brighter future for us all.
Thanks BizWorld, my fellow judges and the incredible, enthusiastic audience that cheered them all on. It was my honor and pleasure to be a part of something truly special. Your potential is limitless, as is your inspiration for others.
CEO's of Jackie Bear Cookie Co, Galleree, Shopping Mate, Beadphones, and Chew IQ