JA My First Start Up

Do you love attending your kids’ sporting events but you’re tired of dragging around your canopy, chairs, cooler, and fan in the sweltering heat weekend after weekend? If that’s you, then Sport Cabanas is for you!

Sport Cabanas is the brainchild of three students who recently competed in JA My First Startup, a week-long program designed to take students through the process of starting a business. The JA Business Week graduates were taught and mentored by three young entrepreneurs: Steven Silva, CEO at Generation BBOY; Kelyn Lanier, vice president and chief strategy officer at Praetorian Rx; and Jon Kim, CEO and founder of Los Angeles-based University of Rock.

Each day, the budding business owners were taken through mentoring sessions, a business task of the day, and mini challenges. They learned about research and development, branding, advertising, legal aspects, marketing, and sales presentations. The week culminated in a Shark Tank-like presentation to see which team’s business idea would win $500 in seed funding and a chance to pitch the idea during Denver Startup Week in September.

“The week was awesome,” said Jon Kim. “We had a lot of fun and I feel like everything went smoothly. I was definitely impressed with the kids’ ideas.”

Some of the other ideas the 20 students from 16 high schools worked on include founding a nonprofit organization to provide school supplies to underprivileged students and starting a company that will engineer an exoskeleton to help construction workers lift heavy material.

The students who won the competition with Sport Cabanas are really excited to launch their business. They saw a need for, what they call, a “softball mom revolution,” where teams would hire Sport Cabanas to provide, set up, and take down canopies, chairs, coolers, fans, and even have provided beverages.

“It was cool to see the businesses that they had come up with,” said Steven Silva. “They are developing their abilities and seeing the opportunities to forge their business ideas.”

Plans are already in the works for the next JA My First Startup program which will run after JA Business Week 2016.