They came for free pizza, they stayed for the prizes. Its a running joke for the fifteen 13-19 year olds that have spent the year learning about and developing business plans through the Teen Entrepreneur Network.  In truth, they come back to feed their ambition.

After its second year, The Teen Entrepreneur Network participants in Courtenay will be pitching their business ideas for a $15,000 prize package.  The youth participating in the free Boys and Girls Club program are looking to build themselves a strong financial future as business owners. They have been working diligently with local community leaders and mentors to develop their business plans, and the time to see just how serious these teens are about success is here.

On June 15th from 6:00pm-8:00pm, ten teens from the program will participate in the Teen Tycoon Challenge at Crown Isle.  They will deliver their pitch, present their prototypes, and compete for a business services prize package worth over $15,000 to help get the winning pitch to the next level.  The package is entirely made up of donations from our local businesses who believe in the program, and who hope to help youth succeed with their ideas. Prizes include everything from business card printing, websites, photography and continued education courses.  All hoping to help youth succeed in their ideas.

“When I first took this on I was thinking lemonade stands and cookie sales,” says Vivian Vaillant, program coordinator, “I was blown away not only by the complexity of the projects these teens wanted to work on, but also their follow through.  It has been such an honour to work with every one of them.”

The youth participants are clear that the sentiment goes both ways.

“I have learned so much I can’t even explain it.” states Frank Goudie.  “The club is my favorite place to be.” Frank is pitching a boardgame he has designed himself.  Through the club, he was able to have it play tested by boardgame publishing giant AEG games.

“I like to be taken seriously,” says Tristan Rendell. “The Club has given me real life information.  Not just watered down stuff most programs give. They treat us like adults and I appreciate that.”  Tristan is working on a summer project offering locally made popsicles at Marina park. If his idea flies, he will leave the concept with the club to provide future learning opportunities for new participants.  “I know it isn’t my forever job.” Tristan says, “I like the idea of leaving opportunity with the TEN Club. I learned so much just building it.

“The job for me is partly about helping them develop practical business skills, and partly about helping them get the resources they need to succeed.” says Vaillant, “Each project is so individual and they just need someone to show them how to knock on doors to get the answers they need.”  Vivian looks forward to starting up again next year. “The program is free for secondary students thanks to the support we receive from our Annual Golf Tournament. We start back up September 11th and I have the privilege of being the first to see another set of amazing ideas come from possibly the most exciting generation yet.”

Interested youth can inquire at cvyouth@bgccvi.com.

View more information about the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island and their programs at www.bgccvi.com.

Additional participant quotes:

“It isn’t just the business learning,” says Rykes Davies, “The club holds me accountable.  I know they care and they’ll tell me what I need to hear.” At 12 years old Rykes is already a known local musician.

“I was worried my project was too complex for TEN Club” says Mitchell Mansfield.  And one can see why. Mitchell. Mitchell wants to host Make-thons around the Valley.  “I see my idea as a community builder that will support technology enthusiasts in the Valley.

“I’ve had more than one idea,” says Liam Rendell, ”Right now I’m thinking about hand dipped resin flowers.  They are really art, but the difference between me and most artists is at least now I understand the business side of it.”

“I wanted to work on something that could make some money right now” says Sophia Vaillant, “I was already doing some face painting.  Now I’m going to expand.” Sophia has already had several regular customers. She realizes now it is time to take herself seriously.

“I didn’t really join TEN to start a business” says Crofton, “A friend of mine told me about it before I moved here and said if I didn’t come I’d be missing out.”   In the end Crofton will be pitching a business called Small Pals Pet Sitter. He vacations small animals while their owners on vacation.

Media Contact:

Kelly Barnie – Director of Marketing and Communications

Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island

243 4th Street  Courtenay, BC V9N 1G7

Phone: (250) 218-5342

Website: www.bgccvi.com

Vivian Vaillant

Youth Program Supervisor, Teen Entrepreneur Network