Idea Tank for Kids AT HOME 2020 – For Illinois kids ages 8-13

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There is a better than equal chance that if you are between the ages of 8 – 13 you might be looking for something a little different to do. Have I got a great idea for you! Recognizing that entrepreneurial lightning can strike at any time,  Idea Tank for Kids AT HOME 2020 is seeking business pitches from Illinois kids ages 8-13 in a statewide competition with a grand prize of $1,000.

Splash Magazines Worldwide had the opportunity of a Q & A with Idea Tank for Kids at Home creator Lowey Bundy Sichol. Read on to learn more.

How did this event come into being?

  • The idea for Idea Tank for Kids came to be during my 2019 book tour for my new children’s book series, From an Idea to…., which teaches kids about business and entrepreneurship. During that time, kids between the ages of 8-12 would flock to me after my talks to share their ideas for inventions, new products, and businesses they had thought up. It made me wonder why we, as a society and educational system, don’t do more to nurture the natural entrepreneur in kids, especially since there are 27 million entrepreneurs in the United States and 400 million worldwide! So, inspired by Shark Tank, I decided to launch Idea Tank for Kids.

·      When did it begin?  

  • June 2019 
  • How many entries were received the first year?  Last year?
    • The inaugural event launched June 2019 in Illinois with 50 teams of Illinois kids – some were individuals, some teams came in twosomes or threesomes. 
  • Is there any information about past winners- what they went on to do?
    • Past success stories: 
      • Scoot Knees– the winning idea was created by a team of three friends who demonstrated their prototype of roller blades for the knees at Idea Tank for Kids 2019. Since then, the boys have used the prize money to patent their invention, create a website, and develop an adult size prototype. The boys are available for interviews.
      • Moss Paint – our runner up idea that created a new type of mural paint that grows moss was developed by Helena Martinez. After competing at Idea Tank, Helena was a recipient of the U.S. STEM Girls Award that fall. Available for interview.
      • Glow Bellies – this 8-year-old entrepreneur sold $500 of her glow belly stuffed animals after the event. Available for interview.
      • Kid to Kid Entertaining – this team of friends created a party planning business for Idea Tank for Kids and booked several gigs after the event. 

·      How do you expect this year to be different than last year

  • Turning Idea Tank for Kids into an AT HOME competition does have some benefits. 
    • 1.) We’re hoping more kids will enter (deadline is May 25!) since they don’t have to leave their home to try out or to present in the finals on June 5, 2020. This is especially helpful for kids who live outside the immediate Chicagoland area.
    • 2.) The reality is that kids have more time on their hands. With home-schooling taking place and extracurricular activities cancelled, we’re hoping this gives kids the extra time that may be necessary to spark new ideas. 
    • 3.) Our prize money is bigger! Thanks to our presenting sponsor PL$ coming on board in recent weeks, we’ve bumped up our prize money to $1,000 for the grand prize, $500 for the audience favorite, and $50 for all of the finalists. 

·      Have any actual businesses come into being as a result of this event?

  • The event is only in its second year but the plan is to make it an annual event and to take it to other states. And if kids can come up with these incredible ideas and pitch them to our judges at the age of 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13, I can’t wait to see what these kids create in the future. 

Photos: Courtesy of Idea Tank for Kids at Home / Furla Photography

Any invention or business concept is eligible, from a germ of an idea to a prototype of a product. The $1,000 grand prize will be awarded by a judging panel including successful Chicagoland executives and entrepreneurs. A $500 “audience favorite” winner will be selected by family members, friends and classmates viewing the free online pitch event.

The deadline to enter is May 25, with a fun “Shark Tank”-like finale for the top 20 submissions to be held online June 5 via video conference.

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