Young Entrepreneurs at Kansas STARBASE

Imagine this: you’re in the 4th, 5th, or 6th grade and you decide to go to a STEM camp. You’re kind of nervous, but more so excited to work on cool projects. Your mom drops you off at camp, and you’re put on a team with three other kids you’ve never met before. Naturally, everyone on the team starts to find their role. But, the group decides the CEO should be voted upon. To your surprise, you’re voted into the highly acclaimed position. Your team now has four days to come up with a useful invention, design a prototype and prepare a pitch for three judges. If your team wins, you could receive up to $1 million…JA bucks that is. (This is a kids' camp, not Who Wants to be a Millionaire!)

There’s a lot on the line at this camp. Your team is looking up to you, and the judges are expecting the next great invention. This is a moment you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

So.. you get to work.

You collaborate with your teammates, you communicate effectively to assure everything gets done well and on time. You think creatively, and you apply innovation. (Not that you realize you’re doing all of those things; you’re just a kid CEO trying to solve the world’s problems.)

The time has come to wow the judges. You are now in charge of pitching the best invention the world has ever seen, an invention worth 1 million JA bucks. Your whole team has notecards and designated places to stand. You take a deep breath and begin your presentation. Here goes nothing..


If your palms are sweaty thinking about this scenario, think about how the kids at the Kansas STARBASE felt. This wasn’t just a scenario for them; it was reality. During the last week of June, Kansas STARBASE partnered with Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City to give their students preparation for success in a 21st century workplace. This relationship gave their students an opportunity to use the CAD lab to design their prototype infusing STEM components AND pitch their inventions to real business leaders and entrepreneurs.

At the end of the JA It’s My Business Program, Kansas STARBASE students pitched their ideas to three Kansas City business leaders and innovators in their industry: Matt Clark, Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager of UMB BankJill Minton, co-founder of, and Ed Honesty, President & COO of Best Harvest Bakeries.

With varying degrees of confidence and nervousness, the participants prompted and supported each other, responded to questions and sold the concepts behind their products,” said Ed Honesty.


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Posted August 2018