Genius Brands International proudly announce the winners of the 4th annual Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club “Grow Your Own Business Challenge” sponsored by the Fairholme Foundation.
Congratulations to Individual Winner Miroslav Bergam, 14 of Short Hills, NJ and Group Winner Team Keep Track Sticky Back: Emily Harkins, 12 and Bryn Hansen, 11 of Omaha, NE.
Over 4,000 kids from all over the country entered their innovative business ideas for a chance to win $5,000 and meet Warren Buffett. Mr. Buffett also awarded all of the finalists 10 shares of Berkshire Hathaway B Stock. The two winning ideas were picked by the judges for their creativity, entrepreneurship and ingenuity. To learn more about their winning ideas visit www.smckids.com.
Miroslav’s winning idea was Beyond the Books. He developed a free education website that offers educational courses for students anywhere in the world.
“I’ve never been to a competition like this,” said Miroslav Bergam. “This competition has brought me into a whole new world. It was just amazing.”
Team Keep Track Sticky Back: Emily Harkins and Bryn Hansen’s grand prize winning entry is a plastic pouch with pockets that help organize people by having a sticky back to the pouch that will attach to anything.
“It was absolutely mind blowing when we won,” said Emily Harkins and Bryn Hansen. “Being at this competition has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and we will never forget it.”
The program and competition were created to encourage kids to be entrepreneurial and practice good financial habits from an early age. The SMC “Grow Your Own Business Challenge” is open to kids 7–14. The competition, sponsored by the Fairholme Foundation to further its mission of improving [financial] education, launched on October 20, 2014, and ended on January 31, 2015.
Five individuals and three groups were selected as finalists to present their business concepts to Warren Buffett and a panel of VIP judges in Omaha, NE on May 18, 2015. This year judges included:
Otha Thornton, President of the National PTA
Artis Stevens, Chief Marketing Officer of 4-H
Ed Grocholski, SVP of Junior Achievement
Roberta Wilhelm, Executive Director at Girls Inc.
John Ziegelman, Portfolio Manager at Wolverine Asset Management, LLC.
Andy Heyward, CEO of Genius Brands International
Jake Johnson, SMC’s individual winner from last year
The grand prize winning individual and members of one grand prize team each received $5,000. The runners up received $500. All finalists nominated a teacher/mentor who was inspirational to them in the process to join them in Omaha. The teachers of the grand prize winners also received $1,000.
“My advice to all young entrepreneurs is to select someone they greatly admire as a role model and use them as a guide in their life,” said Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. “My role models are my dad, Benjamin Graham and Tom Murphy. They gave me guidance that helped me to shape my life and make smart business decisions. They, in fact, helped change the course of my life to make me the person that I am today.”
The “Grow Your Own Business Challenge” is a part of the Secret Millionaires Club Learn and Earn financial literacy promotion which is sponsored exclusively by the Fairholme Foundation and reaches over 250,000 classrooms and youth organizations with free tools and lessons for teaching good financial habits to youth.
The Secret Millionaires Club animated series, created in partnership with and starring an animated Warren Buffett, features a group of kids who have adventures in business. Secret Millionaires Club empowers kids by helping them understand the world they live in, teaching them about the impact their decisions have on their own lives…and teaching them to have the confidence to be the best they can be. The series makes it fun for kids to learn to think like entrepreneurs and features a robust list of guest talent including, Bill Gates, Jay-Z, Shaquille O'Neal, Nick Cannon, Gisele Bundchen and Kelly Rowland. The celebrities play themselves; provide their own voiceovers and lend the lessons of their own life experiences in the context of stories that are relatable and inspirational to kids.