Innovative entrepreneurs: BV students make impact at Expo Day
By Kelby Newcomb
A group of Berryville middle schoolers received recognition for their innovative business “Stress-Less” at Youth Entrepreneur Showcase (Y.E.S.) Expo Day on Friday, Jan. 25, at Park Plaza in Little Rock.
A press release from the Arkansas Capital Corporation says Berryville eighth-graders Amelia Thurman, Lily Hillier, Alyvia Scroggins and Shayleigh Broeker scored third place in the Most Innovative division.
Broeker said Stress-Less offered aroma therapy products, and the girls made slimes and bracelets infused with essential oils that are good for stress and sleep.
Expo Day was a chance for the top 25 teams across the state to market their businesses to the public and a new set of judges at Park Plaza while competing for cash prizes and trophies in four divisions: Best Business Plan, Best Retail Booth, Best Marketing and Most Innovative.
Broeker said it involved a lot of standing because there were only two chairs for each booth.
“We had to wake up early and carry a bunch of stuff to the third floor of the mall,” said Hillier.
“And we had to talk to a lot of people,” said Scroggins.
Broeker said Expo Day taught them a lot about the realities of running a business.
“It was fun,” Thurman said. “We had to be really social. There was one group where there were a lot of people coming up to us at once, so one of us might be talking to a judge and one of us might be talking to a kid. There were a lot of people rushing at us.”
Hillier said they also had to pay attention to detail.
“We had to watch who bought what,” she said, “because you never know when someone is going to take something or when you might charge the wrong amount.”
“Everyone kept asking the same questions about our business,” Scroggins said, “so it got kind of repetitive.”
Thurman said it felt good to win third place for Most Innovative.
“I wish we could have done a little better,” she said, “but it felt good.”
“It was hard after last year because we had placed in two categories,” Hillier said. “But we made the same amount of money this year, and no team really got multiple awards.”
Scroggins said she felt as if their team did better this year.
“I think everyone stepped their game up,” she said.
The students said they won $50 for scoring third in Most Innovative and also made about $75 each in profit from their booth. They said their favorite part of the day was visiting the other booths and seeing the ideas other students turned into businesses.
“It was cool to see everyone else’s ideas and how they came up with them,” Scroggins said.
“It’s amazing what people think about,” Hillier said.
The students said it was also fun to see people they had met at Expo Day last year and realize their project had made a lasting impression.
They said they hope to keep competing in high school, and gifted and talented (GT) teacher Delene McCoy is looking into it.
“It was a fun experience,” Thurman said.
“Stressful but fun,” Hillier said.
“I would love to do it again,” Broeker said.