On Wednesday, January 16, 2013 the HOPE Business in a Box Initiative (HBIAB) gave a group of students at Young Middle School the opportunity to pitch their business proposals before a panel of Atlanta leaders and business owners. The goal of HBIAB is to channel and transform a youth’s natural aspiration and state of hope into practical and life changing action steps.
Prior to the competition, students participated in weeks of preparation, including courses and sessions focused on various aspects of business. Students completed the Gallup-HOPE Index (GHI) assessment to measure their attitudes and feelings about hope, dignity, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and well being in order to gain insight into how they envision their economic future. The students were then led through HOPE’s award winning five hour financial dignity program, Banking on Our Future (BOOF). BOOF gives youth access to the knowledge and tools they need to take control of their financial futures—with a message of empowerment, responsibility, and hope.
The preparation didn’t stop there, as students also attended a five hour HBIAB primer course on entrepreneurship. In this course, the Young Middle School students learned the process of turning a personal interest, dream and skill into a viable business idea and the art of pitching that idea. The course was taught by local professionals and business owners.
During the competition 29 teams pitched for 2-minutes each as judges provided feedback and scored each team.
Following the competition, the judges deliberated as they selected 10 winning teams as finalists. The 10 winning teams were given the requested start-up money to begin their businesses, up to 500 dollars, along with a savings account. The finalists were also matched with volunteer business role models who will help them develop and launch their business plan over a 6 week period.