Young Entrepreneurs: Berryville students win big at Y.E.S. Expo Day

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
(From left) Berryville students Nathan Edwards, Maria Berrios, Lauren Spurlock, Brody Perkins and Dustin Soto won first place in the Most Innovative division at the Youth Entrepreneur Showcase on Friday for their product, Scoods. Each team member received $100 in prize money, and Berryville’s gifted and talented program received $500.
Submitted photo

The Berryville School District has several young entrepreneurs who are already making a splash in the business world.

Three business teams from Berryville Middle School competed in the Arkansas Capital Corporation’s 13th annual Youth Entrepreneur Showcase (Y.E.S.) for Arkansas Expo Day on Friday, Jan. 26, at Park Plaza in Little Rock, and Berryville Middle School took the top two spots in the Most Innovative division.

A press release from Arkansas Capital says more than 170 teams of elementary, middle and junior high school students from across Arkansas submitted business plans in this year’s competition. The top 25 finalists in the written round were invited to compete at Y.E.S. in the Best Business Plan, Best Marketing, Most Innovative and Best Retail Booth divisions.

Scoods by Maria Berrios, Lauren Spurlock, Dustin Soto, Brody Perkins and Nathan Edwards won first place, and B.A.M. by Mia Thurman, Alyvia Scroggins and Lily Hillier won second place.

B.A.M. also won third place in Best Retail Booth division. Isabella Knapik also competed at Y.E.S. with her business, Brownie 365.

The release says the teachers of the first-place winning teams in the competition won a $500 cash prize, with team members each receiving $100. Each team member also received a commemorative medal, and their teachers were presented a 3-D-printed school trophy, produced by the Innovative Hub in North Little Rock. All top 25 team members were presented with certificates of achievement for use in their education and career portfolios.

Gifted and talented teacher Delene McCoy said she was proud of Berryville’s young entrepreneurs.

“I knew our kids had good ideas,” she said. “The Y.E.S. competition was a great avenue for them to share their ideas with the world. This just solidified that, yes, our kids do have good ideas. I’m very proud of them.”

Perkins said he was surprised the Scoods team won first place.

“Our project was a scooter-based pad twisting on the side of the scooter,” he said, “so, if the scooter came up and hit your leg, it wouldn’t hurt. A lot of the judges said they really liked our product and said it was innovative and they hadn’t seen anything like it before.”

Perkins continued, “They didn’t know what it was at first or how it was useful, so it surprised me that we won first place.”

“We were all really excited,” Spurlock said.

Scroggins said she and Thurman were also surprised to win in both the Most Innovative and Best Retail Booth divisions for their B.A.M. team.

“We repurposed old clothing for baby clothes. It was kind of harder for us,” Thurman said, “because our product was different from everyone else’s.”

“When we won, I was very surprised,” Scroggins said. “I didn’t think we were going to get anything, and then we got two awards. It was fun.”

The students said they set up their booths in the morning and sold their products to people in the Park Plaza Mall while judges visited the booths and asked questions.

“It was fun. It was busy, and there were a lot of people asking questions,” Edwards said. “It was definitely worth a try.”

He and Spurlock said one of the most fun parts was visiting the mall’s food court.

“The food was great,” Spurlock said. “Selling to the people in the mall was very terrifying.”

“They were really nice,” Berrios said. “I also liked going on the escalators and the elevators.”

Soto said he enjoyed visiting Little Rock.

“Going there was pretty cool because I haven’t been to Little Rock since I was like 4,” he said. “It was bigger than I remembered it.”

Perkins and Thurman said they enjoyed seeing the products that students from other schools had invented.

“I liked seeing what the other teams came up with,” Perkins said, “and how they set up their retail booths.”

Knapick said she enjoyed selling her products at the mall.

“I wasn’t nervous until I got there because I got more judges than I actually got customers,” she said. “I actually liked selling my product because I’ve had my own businesses since I was a little girl.”

The students said they would all like to compete at Y.E.S. again.

Since Arkansas Capital Corporation launched Y.E.S. for Arkansas in 2006, more than 7,700 students have submitted 2,467 business plans into the competition, the release says. It says Y.E.S. for Arkansas mirrors a real-world business planning process requiring teams to define the market and audience for the product or service, demonstrate the viability of their idea and how it will make money, identify what makes the product or service better than what is currently in the marketplace, and provide an income statement and projections of revenue and expenses.

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