West Shore Young Entrepreneurs Club members Ben Lindal

Young West Shore entrepreneurs gain experience, raise cash for charity

Short-term business challenge sees youth think outside the box

A group of a dozen or so budding young business people have been busy of late brainstorming and honing their marketing and fundraising skills.

Aiden Lindal and Cam McMicken, both in Grade 12 at Belmont secondary and members of the West Shore Young Entrepreneurs Club, enthusiastically described how a recent five-day business challenge saw their group take $100 in seed money and turn it into a little over $900, to be donated to the Westshore Christmas Hamper Fund.

“The deadline was supposed to be Dec. 2, but we worked all through that weekend to raise more money,” said Lindal, who sold water bottles, while McMicken focused on selling gift bags containing a variety of items.

Lindal, who had previously arranged to sell water bottles out front of the busy Glenwood Meats store in Langford, had the value of networking reinforced during the challenge. Owner Rick Fisher agreed to not only buy 100 bottles to give Lindal’s team a boost and contribute to the food bank, he donated the bottles back to the students so they could sell them again and make even more money for the cause.

A second team, overseen by Lindal’s father Dean, also sold gift bags and made roughly $300 profit for their efforts.

“I noticed just with that constrained time frame, it just caused them to be a bit more creative and take a few more chances,” said Dean, who helped launch the West Shore club and works by day with international leadership and mentoring group, the Young Presidents Organization.

“Watching them trying to figure out price points on the gift bags, and just the genuine passion and enthusiasm to create a business and how they came up with a product … I was actually pretty impressed, it got me pumped up.”

The challenge came out of the club’s inaugural meeting, organized by club mentors Dean Lindal and financial planner Mike Adamek. At that event the high school students – one is in middle school – heard guest speaker Kevin Daum, a New York-based author and Inc. Magazine columnist, speak about the value of good employees. Other guests included Langford Mayor Stew Young, Teenfest CEO Ali Berman, social media coach and entrepreneur David Caughran and venture capital organization CEO Stephen Davis.

Aiden Lindal and McMicken were among the business-minded youth who spearheaded the creation of New Ventures, the entrepreneurial leadership course at Belmont. Students in the program run the school’s Lakeside Cafe and are in charge of selling school clothing and other spirit items.

The two friends plan on getting into some kind of business together after graduation, and they agree it will be something with a charitable element.

“Cam and I have been brainstorming business ideas for about the past 1-1/2 years,” says Lindal, whose younger brother, Ben, is also in the club.

Adds McMicken: “It has to be something new and innovative and gives back to the community. And it has to involve youth.”

Echoing Daum’s words, Adamek has counselled the teens on the importance of good employees to a business.

“The most valuable inventory you have is your people,” McMicken said.

The Young Entrepreneur’s Club plans on holding breakfast meetings monthly, with guest speakers from the world of business brought in to talk about their experiences with a goal of inspiring these budding young minds to greater things.

As for Lindal and McMicken, they hope to one day be among the mentors whose entrepreneurial success can inspire the following generation of business leaders.

To find out about the club, email Dean Lindal at dlindal@ypo.org.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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