These smiling faces (left to right: Mike Gibbs, Karthik Bala, Peggy Gibbs, Michael Cheng, Tom Peters, Fernanda Gutierrez, Michaela Kastelman, Sachin Vadodaria, and Ellen Pieterse. Samir Kishore was not present.) show the excitement of the winning Camp BizSmart team with Newpreneur of the Year Finale featured speaker, Tom Peters. The students enjoyed talking with Mr. Peters, one of the most influential and distinctive voices in the business world and the author of numerous books including In Search of Excellence. Ken Johnson, VP of Ideas at WAGIC a valued partner of Camp BizSmart, observed “Those teen entrepreneurs having the opportunity to talk to Tom Peters, is like young musicians talking with Paul McCartney—nothing beats meeting a living legend.”
The team was recognized and introduced following a slide show and remarks depicting their Camp BizSmart entrepreneurial journey, by Bob LaPointe, President of Inc. Magazine and sponsor of the competion along with Alibaba.com. Kelly Sang, director of Alibaba.com Americas, a Camp BizSmart business plan competition judge, invited the Hara 2 team to the finals. “After meeting the members of the winning Camp BizSmart team this summer I was energized by their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for learning,” said Kelly Sang, ” I invited them to attend the Alibaba.com Newpreneur finale to give them the opportunity to continue to grow and learn from entrepreneurs just like them and to see first hand how supporting small business can impact the economy.”
It was a great experience for the team to hear the ideas of 13 entrepreneurs from all around the United States. Products built with parts sourced from the Alibaba.com system ranged from an affordable single gear bike made by Sole Bicycles to the winner, Joel Smith of FWD Mobility who designs and distributes breakthrough medical mobility products to help users maintain their independence. And who knows, with such great inspiration and continued skill building perhaps a Camp BizSmart student will emerge as a Newpreneur of the Year in the future.