DALLAS – Emcee of Monday’s Venture-Entrepreneurial Expedition Business Pitch competition and Mavericks’ television voice Mark Followill dabbed some beard oil on his facial hair and remarked about how good it smelled.
To which, the creator of the organic concoction, eighth-grader Nyla Campbell, continued her sales spiel.
“I don’t have a beard myself,” she said. “But I understand that the beard should look shiny and groomed. Your beard looks OK from the start. But it (the oil) will help it kind of glow and straighten out those stray (hairs). It should help keep your beard soft and keep your skin clear, not that you need help with that.”
In the eighth grade, and already blessed with a saleswoman’s gift of gab.
That’s the sort of spunk that wowed the judges, including Mavericks’ CEO Cynt Marshall and center Dwight Powell, and earned Campbell the trophy for best overall product at the pitch competition, which is akin to a junior Shark Tank episode.
The competition was at Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs Middle School and featured five teams that showcased various community-oriented ideas and services. The event was sponsored by 5miles and EVERFI, the Mavericks’ education technology innovator.
“We got some pitches on some business ideas from middle-school students and I have to say I was extremely impressed,” Powell said. “They showed passion, ingenuity and some awareness of what’s needed in the community.”
Added Marshall: “I think our future is in good hands with young people like this. They dream big, and I encourage them to continue dreaming big.”
Campbell’s organic skin-care products also was voted the audience favorite by the students who watched the competition, as well as winning the overall award. A wash-and-take idea to help low-income families keep their clothes clean and also take donations of used clothing, the brainchild of a Polk Middle School group, was named the most-impactful for the Dallas area. A care service for families with minor emergencies or medial-assist needs created by the Young Women’s STEAM Academy was deemed the most creative pitch by the judging panel.
Perhaps the biggest impression made by the young teenagers was the fact that they spoke in front of a crowd of a couple hundred peers and adults.
“They had the confidence and the poise to stand up in front of a crowd,” Powell said. “I would have froze, to be honest. Especially to be up there by yourself. That takes a lot and she was very prepared.”
That would be Campbell, who attends Seagoville Middle School and made her pitch solo.
She said her idea for skin-care made out of healthy ingredients was born out of her mom’s desire to eat healthier.
“At the time, my mom wanted me to go vegan and eat healthier,” she said. “I thought about it and I like tasty food and I thought I’d make something to put on my skin first.”
It clearly made an impression on the judges.
And on Followill, too.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM: Thanks to the support from the Dallas Mavericks and presenting sponsor 5miles, the Venture – Entrepreneurial Expedition digital course is presented in local middle schools throughout North Texas. Venture – Entrepreneurial Expedition is designed to teach students to think entrepreneurially about business and life. The course uses case studies, interactive business simulations and personal development activities to teach important basic business skills. Students develop a personalized plan for their individual business, along with a roadmap for academic and career success. The digital learning initiative, powered by global technology leader EVERFI, is being implemented directly in schools throughout North Texas with nearly 2,000 middle school students participating.
This event is truly a celebration for the students that have completed the program as they get two minutes to pitch their business ideas to a panel of celebrity judges for the chance to be named the top business and win tickets to an upcoming Mavs game. Special guest judges for the competition were Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, Dallas Mavericks Senior VP, Greg Nared, VP Communications at 5miles Mark Brinkherhoff and Chief Operating Officer at EVERFI Ellen Patterson.
ABOUT 5MILES: 5miles is a free, local marketplace app, one of the fastest-growing online shopping ventures in the United States. The app is the first of its kind to include services, housing and jobs, in addition to second-hand trading. 5miles launched in January 2015, immediately setting itself apart with an easy-to-use mobile interface, identity verification capabilities (for added safety and security), mobile payment and shipping options, and a hyper-local curation of offerings users can search—all within their very own neighborhoods. Since then, buyers and sellers in every major market coast-to-coast have transacted more than $5 billion in merchandise through 5miles, which Google Play has ranked a top 10 shopping app. Learn more at 5miles.com.
ABOUT EVERFI, INC.: EVERFI is the leading education technology company that provides learners of all ages education for the real world, through innovative and scalable digital learning including topics like Financial Education, Digital Citizenship, STEM Career Readiness, Diversity and Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, Social and Emotional Learning, Character Education, and Health and Wellness. Founded in 2008, EVERFI is fueled by its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription model and has certified over 16 million learners in critical skill areas. Some of America’s leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EVERFI investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Evan Williams, TPG Growth, The Rise Fund, Advance Publications, and Rethink Education, and Rethink Impact. The EVERFI Education Network powers more than 4,200 partners in their education initiatives across all 50 states and Canada. Learn more at EVERFI.com
ABOUT VENTURE – ENTREPRENEURIAL EXPEDITION: Venture – Entrepreneurial ExpeditionTM is a digital course that uses case studies, interactive business simulations and personal development activities to teach important business skills. Students develop a personalized plan for their individual business, along with a roadmap for academic and career success. Thanks to the support from the Dallas Mavericks and presenting sponsor 5Miles, the interactive program has expanded to twenty schools and nearly 1,500 middle school students throughout the DFW Metroplex participating.