2nd Annual Winners

Winners of the 2nd Annual "Grow Your Own Business Challenge"

Announcing the Grand Prize Winners!

We're thrilled to present you with the GRAND PRIZE WINNERS of the 2nd annual Secret Millionaires Club "Grow Your Own Business Challenge"!

Individual Grand Prize Winner: Matthew Team Grand Prize Winners: Kennedy, Sawyer, Spencer
Idea: Right-Writer Idea: Kidtrepreneur Kits

All finalists presented their ideas to Warren Buffett and a panel of judges at a Grand Prize Event in Omaha on May 20th, 2013. Finalists also participated in an Entrepreneurial Workshop with experts in the fields of business, finance, and entrepreneurship.

Scroll down to see some photos of this exciting celebration event!

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2nd Annual "Grow Your Own Business Challenge" FINALISTS!

Here they are—Your Finalists! The finalists were publicly announced by Aria Eppinger on Friday, April 19 when she helped ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Aria won the Grand Prize in the Individual category of the 1st Annual "Grow Your Own Business Challenge"!

Have you heard the latest? After an exciting round of online voting (and more than 40,000 votes!), we're delighted to announce the winners of the online voting round!

The Individual Winner of the online voting round is Alexis with the business idea "PAPA" (Pool Accident Prevention Association). The Team Winners of the online voting round are Molly, Michael, Charles, and Austin with the business idea "Food & Family = F2." Great job--congratulations!!

Below, check out the finalists' descriptions of their business ideas. To preserve the integrity of the entries, the descriptions have not been edited.

Team Finalists

TEAM MEMBERS: Molly (13), Michael (13), Charles (12), Austin (13) from Ohiofood and family team image
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BUSINESS IDEA: Food & Family = F2
It is important that kids learn healthy eating and cooking habits when they are young. Uniting families in the cooking of a meal will teach lifelong skills, save a lot of money, and build strong relationships. Each week our business will sell a grocery bag with fresh produce, boxed whole-grain pastas, sauces, beans, fresh fruit, and everything a family needs to make a meal together along with a laminated menu card. The menu card will include the ingredients, the directions to cook the meal and even some information about the recipe and its health benefits. The groceries for each weekly meal will be paid for in advance by the families that are ordering the meals. The customer will also be able to select a game from games donated by middle school students. We will give you everything that you would need to cook a healthy meal and have a “Fun Family Friday” with your family. We will sell the ideas to our families by marketing the concept of "Fun Family Fridays!" using group emails, marketing materials like flyers, menus, posters and word of mouth announcements.
TEAM MEMBERS: Sawyer (10), Kennedy (13), Spencer (16) from Kentuckykidtrepreneur kits team image
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BUSINESS IDEA: Kidtrepreneur Kits
We came up with our idea after talking about all of the kids in our schools who would love to have a job and make money. Since there are laws against child labor, we can't go get a job at the local McDonald's or Pizza Hut, but we have an idea where kids can think of ways to work and make money. Kidtrepreneur Kits is a program where we would design a website where kids can go online and register to be a Kidtrepreneur. Each member would receive a monthly newsletter kit that includes all kinds of ways KIDS can actually make money. For example, one idea might be growing and selling pumpkins. So the newsletter would give step by step instructions for planting and growing pumpkins along with a bag of pumpkin seeds. We would ask for special guest entrepreneurs to assist in coming up with the ideas and invite them to write guest editorials about their experience in the world of making money. We would also have classroom kits that would give every student in the classroom a kit to take home.
TEAM MEMBERS: Clarissa (10), Esai (10) from Washingtonwin win team image
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On Christmas Eve, the local produce stand was giving away all its remaining fresh items because they were closing the shop for two weeks. They offered their food first to food banks and shelters and then to the public. More than twenty pounds of ginger and nearly forty pounds of tomatoes went unclaimed. The clerk said he was going to throw these away. When we heard about this, we realized we could reduce waste and make some money for ourselves by preserving the produce while adding to its value. We both love candied and pickled ginger and salsa. Our proposal would be to take whatever is left over and process it into something we could sell. We will need to get ideas for what to do with whatever produce is surplus next year. We will need food handlers' permits as well as a business license. Depending on which product is surplus next year, we may need to secure the use of a commercial kitchen. While we can't predict what produce will be available next year, we will use ginger as our primary example of what we would like to sell.

Individual Finalists

Max (16) from Massachusetts
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BUSINESS IDEA: Bed Bug Exposing Device (BBED)
Whenever we go to a hotel, my family always worries about bed bugs because we have heard so many stories about how hotels are full of them and they're so hard to get rid of. I therefore think it would be a good idea to have a way of checking so that a hotel guest would be able to know their room is free of bed bugs before they unpack their bags. Male bed bugs give off two chemicals that have recently been identified as (E)-2-octenal and (E)-2-hexenal. My company would develop and sell test kits to test for these chemicals. Ideally, it would be a card, impregnated with test chemicals, and covered with a protective layer of plastic. A hotel guest would then peel off the plastic cover and lay the card on the hotel bed for a certain length of time. If the chemicals turned color, it would indicate that bed bugs were present, and the guest would have good reason to go to a different hotel. The product could be sold to vacation travelers and people to travel abroad on business.
Krissa (11) from Marylandmax
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BUSINESS IDEA: Cupcakes for Literacy
As much as I love baking, I also love reading too, and decided it would be a fun idea to help something I really appreciate. The Cupcakes for Literacy bake sales would help with reading and reading literacy. I decided to have Cupcakes for Literacy help through a group called storytimewithkrissa.com, where I am the Chairperson. Storytimewithkrissa.com is a group seven elementary students who work to provide reading literacy opportunities through our website. We also learn ourselves! Each quarter we participate in Quarterly Learning Activities to acquire the skills needed to fully operate our group. We even have Quarterly Team Building Activities to keep the group cohesive and strong. Proceeds from my Cupcakes for Literacy bake sales would be given, by storytimewithkrissa.com, to groups who help people learn to read, and read better, like my school library, the public library, and non-profits. Cupcakes for Literacy would also build partnerships with reading literacy businesses so that they can spread the word about products.
Fabian (15) from Texasfabian
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BUSINESS IDEA: H2O—Saltwater to Freshwater as You Pedal Home
The inspiration for H2O came from existing bicycle-based water purifiers such as Aquaduct by IDEO and CycloClean by Nippon Basic. These two have serious shortcomings however. They are extremely expensive and are not affordable for developing communities. In addition, they cannot remove salt from brackish water. In contrast, the H2O invention can desalinate and purify brackish water sources that are salty as seawater at a very low cost. H2O consists of two components, H2OWheel and H2OSolarStill which can work independently but gain synergy when working together. H2OWheel is a retro-fit wheel for bicycles which desalinates brackish water using reverse-osmosis while H2OSolarStill is an enhanced solar still which desalinates brackish water through solar desalination. As the user pedals home with a new supply of brackish water, H2O works to desalinate that water. When solar power is unavailable, H2O still works because of its use of human pedal-power to drive reverse-osmosis desalination. H2O will be licensed to specific NGOs dedicated to the design, development, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, financing and sales of basic mechanical devices to address water, food, or sanitation needs in developing countries.
Alexis (16) from New Jerseyalexis
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BUSINESS IDEA: PAPA (Pool Accident Prevention Association)
When my brother was two years old, he jumped into the swimming pool without a life vest. For several minutes nobody noticed. Luckily, it was not too late to save him. Thus, I was inspired to establish the Pool Accident Prevention Association and create a technology, such as the Safety Sensor that will help prevent hazardous pool accidents. The Safety Sensor is set to the child’s swim ability level, through the keypad. The child will fasten a bracelet that is automated to the sensor. Once the bracelet is locked, it can only come off with a pressure point that is specific to an adult touch. The sensor attached to the pool is automated when the weight of a child is felt within the pool water. If the child swims too far under water than their comfort level, and if the sensor senses that he is underwater for too long, an alarm will sound. I will sell my product to summer camps, pool installation services, and swim clubs. If the technology seems to work through these services, I will expand to individuals.
Matthew (9) from Ohiomatthew
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I created the Write-Right to help me "brain train" how to hold my pencil correctly. "Brain Training" is learning how to do something the right way. I hated to write, and part of that was because it hurt my hand and arm. I have learning problems that makes spelling, handwriting and writing my thoughts down very hard. I also was embarrassed because my handwriting was ugly. I used the Right-Writer for two months whenever I wrote, and now my handwriting is so much better. The Write-Right is a wrist band with an elastic band finger holder. It holds down the pinky and ring fingers, so that you only use your thumb, pointer and middle fingers to hold your pencil. It helps you to remember that your handwriting is important and that you should be paying attention to the way you hold your pencil and form your letters. I would like to start selling this to my Occupational Therapist and the other therapists at her office. My mom will help me make a plan to sell them online in an Etsy store to start with.

Presenting Your Semifinalists!

We’re thrilled to announce the Individual and Team Semifinalists of the 2nd Annual “Grow Your Own Business Challenge"! We received thousands of wonderful entries from amazing kids all over the country. Judging was definitely no easy feat! We commend each and every one of the kids who entered—along with the parents, teachers, and volunteers who helped motivate them. Kids, keep coming up with great new ideas—our judges were truly impressed!

Ten individuals and five teams rose to the top! After another round of judging, five individuals and three teams will make it to the finals. Then, in May, you’ll get a chance to vote for the finalists online—and they’ll get invited to Omaha to present their ideas to Mr. Warren Buffett! Stay tuned as our expert panel goes through one more grueling round of judging. So many terrific ideas—may the best entries win!

Team Semifinalists

electric shoe team image

Team Members:
Noah (13), Brandon (13), Kevin (13) from New Jersey
Business Idea:

food and family team image

Team Members:
Molly (13), Michael (13), Charles (12), Austin (13) from Ohio
Business Idea:
Food & Family = F2

icebreakers team image

Team Members:
Leah (10), Kaylee (8) from New York
Business Idea:

kidtrepreneur kits team image

Team Members:
Sawyer (10), Kennedy (13), Spencer (16) from Kentucky
Business Idea:
Kidtrepreneur Kits

win win team image

Team Members:
Clarissa (10), Esai (10) from Washington
Business Idea:
WiNWiN Products

Individual Semifinalists


Max (16) from Massachusetts
Business Idea:
Bed Bug Exposing Device (BBED)


Krissa (11) from Maryland
Business Idea:
Cupcakes for Literacy


Kevin (14) from Maryland
Business Idea:
Earn & Munch


Fabian (15) from Texas
Business Idea:
H2O—Saltwater to Freshwater as You Pedal Home


Michael (13) from New Jersey
Business Idea:
Meet the World


Alexis (16) from New Jersey
Business Idea:
PAPA(Pool Accident Prevention Association)


Matthew (9) from Ohio
Business Idea:


Kassie (16) from Arizona
Business Idea:
Separate Checks Please!


Heather (13) from Alabama
Business Idea:
S.L.A.P (Smart Lackadaisical Accessory Phone)


Elizabeth (13) from New Jersey
Business Idea:
USave: Green Filter

Photos from the Grand Prize Event

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Individual Finalist, Krissa, arrives

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Team finalist with their teacher

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Clarissa and Esai pitch their idea to Mr. Buffett

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Expert Panelists

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Finalists present Mr. Buffett with a quotebook

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Finalists with Judges and Panelists

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Finalists with their parents and teachers

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Individual Winner, Matthew, with Mr. Buffett

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Kennedy presents the quotebook to Mr. Buffett

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Krissa gets Mr. Buffett to try her cupcake

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Matthew explaining his idea to Mr. Buffett

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Matthew wins the Grand Prize

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Max pitches his idea to Mr. Buffett

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Mr. Buffett and the Finalists

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Mr. Buffett gives 10 Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock to finalists and their teachers

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Bruce Berkowitz, Fairholme Foundation

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Mr. Buffett signing Matthew's winning check

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Mr. Buffett with Alexis

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Mr. Buffett with Fabian

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Winning team with Mr. Buffett

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Winning Team and Individual