Cool Kids Club teaches kids to start their own business, to collaborate


Cool Kids Club (CKC) students learn appreciation for entrepreneurship with the EntrepreneurShip Investigation program(ESI).

This is the second year CKC has had the ESI program, said teacher Amy McMannis, students collaborate ideas in groups of two, they put together a business plan just as they would if they were starting their own company.

Students begin the process by brainstorming an idea, from that initial idea the students come up with a design, and a prototype to present to the bank.

“Students are free to choose their own product,” McMannis said, “I think this year, there were things like, book marks, saddle blankets and window decals.”

After the students create their business plan and prototype, complete with their own logo, it’s time to present the idea to the bank to see if, they can receive the loan to start making their product.

CKC students went to Security First Bank in Sidney to receive their loans. Each pair presented their business plans to the loan officer, just as they would if they were starting their own company.

“We have been participating in this the past couple years now,” said loan officer Clint Norman, “I think it’s a good idea, the business plans help students to think like entrepreneurs, to make money and gain experience.”

McMannis said, the loan officer asks them questions about their product and then they sign the loan papers and receive the funds to buy their materials. Students then fabricate their products on a larger scale to sell, and pay the loans back to the bank.

“Students will be selling their products at a few different places around town,” McMannis said, “at the farmers and at the county fair.”

Students Azlyn Morales and Lydia Peters said they created “Lydia and Azlyn Saddle Blankets,” wool blankets that go under saddles that will have designs on them.

“We choose saddle blankets,” said Peters, “because we really like horses.”

CKC Director Colleen Langdon said the program was made possible by grants and donations, from Susan Buffet with the Sherwood Foundation and Security First Bank.

“This is quite the program,” said Langdon, “we received a $5000 grant to do this program, as well as a $250 donation from the bank.”

Nebraska Extension office and Kids Plus also lent a big hand in bringing the ESI program to CKC students said Rachel Ibach, Extension office intern.

“My internship is primarily for the entrepreneur program,” said Ibach.

McMannis said the ESI program is open to the public, anyone interested in learning more can sign up for the program when it begins again next year.


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