Muskogee Phoenix About 200 New Tech Academy seventh- and eighth-grade students participated in the Biz Kid$ Entrepreneur contest, according to a news release.The Biz Kid$ program prepares youth by empowering them with the tools, information, and skills necessary to save and invest in their futures. It provides the opportunity for teachers to receive personal financial education, tips and techniques on how to teach the Biz Kid$ program and the pleasure of seeing their students’ business ideas come to life.The students at New Tech Academy at Alice Robertson Middle School began their journey in November. Since then, they’ve learned overall financial education and real-life concepts such as money management, entrepreneurship, responsibility and collaboration. Students were to create a business plan that fulfilled a need in their community, while putting the entrepreneurship skills they learned to use. After agreeing on a somewhat realistic idea, the students chose a chief executive officer of their company and split up duties such as marketing, finance, design, manufacturing, and internet technology.Through this competition, they learned how to work together on one concept, compromise, compete, start and build a business, present in front of a group and pitch their product. Their teachers at New Tech, Joie Sneed and Tyler Cramer, are proud of their students.“They were fast learners, planned together as teams, and were very motivated. They did these projects on their own,” Sneed said.On Feb. 15, eight small groups of students presented their business plans to a group of four local judges, similar to a Shark Tank environment.Those judging included Dan Morris with Advantage Controls, Kenny Greer from Mahylon’s, Shawn Raper with ERA CS Raper and Sons Realty, and Anthony Tucker with the Muskogee City-County Port Authority.Judging criteria included the product or service, advertising and branding, cost of production, succession planning, presentation, and whether their business filled a need and was feasible, said Mike Kent, branch manager for Muskogee Federal Credit Union, which sponsored the local competition.The winning project, named Dangleberry, is a cutting-edge way to protect your cell phone. The winning entrepreneurs are eighth-grade students from Cramer’s class.The winner of the local competition advances to a regional contest, competing against other teams from Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. The winner will be chosen this month by the contest sponsor, Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, located in Plano, Texas.
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