by Jeanette Perthel

The ARTpreneurs Showcase and Business Plan Competition – organized and supported by Arts on the Block and Montgomery College – culminates an innovative six-week program for young people ages 16-25.  Working in teams and guided by mentors from the business and arts worlds, the youths learn the basics of starting an eco-friendly arts enterprise through developing a product, creating a business plan, and initiating a successful market launch.

ARTpreneurs and their mentors at the July 27 Showcase and Business Plan Competition.

Five different groups participated in the competition June 27, 2011, showcasing the creativity and business skills they learned through the program.  Products were put on display, and the teams made their sales pitches to visitors and potential customers.  In addition, each team presented and defended their business plan to a panel of judges.

The ARTpreneur teams included Mavi, who sold cute, unique headbands, hair clips, and hats made of magazines or recycled plastic bags; Tell Me Your Wish, who made decorative star-like displays by punching holes and stringing lights through old cat food tin cans; Wired World Wide, who made jewelry from recyclable bottle caps and beads; p.RE.tty Recyclables, who did origami using pages from fashion magazines to make handbags and bracelets; and Handle With Care, who made bags and wallets out of recycled plastic bags, duct tape and police caution tape to give their products an edgy, youthful flare.

Each product was fun, innovative, and ingenious.

The teams presented business plans that covered their costs, marketing strategies, competitive advantage, time management, sales projection, profits, start-up investment, and how the business would give back to the community.

Each team’s presentation was well done, and the judges had a tough decision to make. In the end, first place and the people’s choice prizes went to Handle With Care, second went to Tell Me Your Wish, and third place went to Wired World Wide.

Congratulations to the prize winners! However, the ARTpreneurs workshop is about more than a competition; it’s about the learning experience and the feeling of accomplishment among all of the young participants.

More photos from the event can be seen here.

A Bethesda Green intern, Jeanette Perthel graduated from Churchill High School and is attending Towson University this fall.