Wilmingtonians hoping to launch their own business jumped into the shark tank last week. Four entrepreneurial young adults presented their ideas to a panel of judges at West End Neighborhood House’s Launcher Entrepreneurship program on April 4th.
The winning idea was from the youngest participant who wowed the judges with a cold glass of tasty lemonade. Fifteen-year-old Nasai Oliver of Wilmington wants to turn his grandmother’s lemonade recipe into a profitable business that he calls Myster Lemonade, LLC. He hopes to develop the recipe into a wholesale business with broad distribution.
Oliver took home the grand prize of a year membership with the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and $500 in services and materials from Popdot Signs & Graphics.
The program, which was held at Padua Academy, was moderated by former First Lady Carla Markell and included a panel of Delaware business experts: Ernest ‘Sammy’ Congo of Congo Funeral Homes, Director of Economic Development for the City of Wilmington Jeff Flynn, Lynne Howard – principal at Lynne Howard Consulting, and Ken Anderson with the Delaware Economic Development Office. Remarks were also offered by Gov. John Carney, County Executive Matt Meyer and Mayor Mike Purzycki.
Two dozen Launcher Program business also participated in a trade show for the 200 guests and elected officials in attendance. For many, it was the first time they were able to share their bright ideas with a broader section of the community. The Launcher Program started in January of this year and already 24 new businesses are underway with the support of West End and Barclays, which is the main funder of the program. These are new business opportunities which may not have come to fruition were it not for the Launcher Program.
Photos courtesy Jim Coarse / Moonloop Photography