A youth entrepreneurship program expanding across Oklahoma

EARLY is a youth entrepreneurship program equipping kids to be “dreamers and doers” through starting their own businesses and to support innovation and creativity in young entrepreneurs. We’ll provide the opportunities, mentors, skills, and resources so your student can experience real-life business and entrepreneurship. All you need is grit, determination, and a BIG Dream! 

Do you have a business or an idea? Perhaps, you feel stuck because of your age and you’re not really sure of your next steps.

Here at EARLY, we help students ages 8-15 develop entrepreneurial skills through starting their very own businesses. Whether you have an existing business or idea, we’ll help you take your business to the next level, whether that’s sales or scaling!

So how does EARLY help? 

If you haven’t heard, being a CEO can be hard (we can tell you’re not afraid of challenges though if you’re here 😉). By joining the EARLY program, we surround you with the support and learning resources that you need to get your business selling:

  • Weekly online training session for 5 weeks
  • Access to our digital learning platform
  • An EARLY business start-up kit that includes a print field guide, a book resource, t-shirt, two booth fee waivers, and more that will help you get started.
  •  Support from our business coaches and network 
  • Sales opportunities 
You get all this for $70! 

If you haven’t heard, being a CEO can be hard (we can tell you’re not afraid of challenges though if you’re here 😉). By joining the EARLY program, we surround you with the support and learning resources that you need to get your business selling:

  • Weekly online training session for 5 weeks
  • Access to our digital learning platform
  • An EARLY business start-up kit that includes a print field guide, a book resource, t-shirt, two booth fee waivers, and more that will help you get started.
  •  Support from our business coaches and network 
  • Sales opportunities 
You get all this for $70! 

The EARLY program at Loveworks has been a tremendous opportunity and blessing for our son. It has allowed him to learn about the many different aspects of business. He has had to found and start up a business from scratch along with all of the nuisances and work that goes into just getting ready for Day One. It has taught him real world skills such as budgeting, marketing, and interpersonal skills. Moreover, it has allowed him to develop problem solving skills as well as learning the value of money. Definitely the program has helped our son mature and learn skills that he can utilize for the rest of his life and with any future career he goes into. -Ryan Sease and Monica Suyo Mateo

The EARLY program far exceeded out expectations. It gave our daughter the motivation, guidance and exposure to the real life experience of owning a small business. It provided her with necessary tools, resources and the support she needed to turn her love for art into a thriving business at such a young age. It gave a direction to her generous and kind heart ways to give back to the community and charities.

From creating her logo, learning about sales & marketing, budgeting, developing people skills to public speaking, she has learnt a great deal about entrepreneurship. One of the best take away for us as parents was to see our daughter’s personality and confidence take a leap. Thanks to Loveworks and the entire team for helping shape the next generation of brilliant and goal oriented young entrepreneurs and leaders. -Venkat and Manjula Ramindeedi

It takes 3 steps to apply!

Applications are open for Cohort #9! Apply below and submit your video by May 15th, 2022

  1. Record a 30-60 second video pitch introducing yourself and your business idea. Check out our sample videos below for inspiration.
  2. Click the Apply Now button and submit your application.
  3. Once accepted, you will be sent a confirmation link to to pay the $70 program fee. 

Example Pitch Videos:

After you apply, we’ll send you an email with links and info on your first meeting.

What’s next after getting started?

EARLY is hosting an Oklahoma statewide Youth Business Pitch Competition and we want you to join in all the FUN!

Students can register as a participant for the EARLY Event which will include a kids business sales expo and youth business competition to showcase their business and learn valuable skills from real-life business people. 

Check out what our students have achieved…

Wristworld

Check out this video from one of our alumni companies, Wristworld. These students began their journey 2 years ago, now their product is sold in stores in Oklahoma and online everywhere!

REAL Kitchen

Real Kitchen is one of our Alumni companies. They make several varieties of fresh salsa and are sold locally at supermarkets around the state! Watch this video to learn more about their journey.

What exactly is this program?

The program will look different for each student, but our goal will always be to help them bring their idea to market. We help students solidify and fortify their product/service, budget, marketing strategy, and their sales pitch. Students’ first milestone will be getting their business ready for the Norman Farmers Market.

How much time is required of our student and family?

Each cohort will have 5 weekly meetings, 4 virtually and 1 in-person with all students. The virtual meetings are held on Zoom on Mondays from 6:30 pm-7:30 pm. Our 5th meeting will be in-person at Loveworks Leadership on a Monday evening from 6:00 pm-7:30 pm. These meetings are meant to help inspire and show you the next steps of developing your business, but the majority of making your business happens in between the calls as you work on your business and schedule individual, specialized meetings with your business coaches. It will depend on how much of your business has already been developed, but be prepared to invest a few hours each week and energy from the student and parental side to make it happen!

Cohort 9 Schedule: May 15th-June 13th on Monday evenings

Who can participate?

Anyone ages 8-15!

What is the deadline?

  • Apply by May 8th to be considered for the next cohort of students. 

Loveworks Leadership is a youth leadership organization committed to helping middle school students develop personal character, discover their leadership skills, and learn entrepreneurship skills. Through mentorship and hands-on activities, the programs are designed to help students make positive life choices, discover career paths, and set them on a trajectory for personal success.

In 2016, Loveworks launched its first kid-run business, REAL Kitchen. The business idea was born when a middle-school career interest initiative suggested the secret salsa recipe from a volunteer chef would make for a tasty product. What a tasty mash-up! 

It was a perfect pairing! We thought people everywhere would love this fresh spin on their favorite snack. The team worked hard to test, batch, and produce the first rounds of salsa products. Just in time to bring-to-market at the Norman Farmers Market. Their first sales of fresh salsa gave the team a craving for more. Over the years many professional mentors have worked alongside teams of middle-school students to teach them how to sell, market, run the financials, and expand the growing business. REAL Kitchen salsas are available in fresh and shelf stable versions with more than five zesty flavors, for sale in grocery stores across the OKC MetroPlex. 

 Hundreds of students have been inspired by REAL Kitchen to start their own businesses.

In 2018, fate would have it that another group of students would launch out to form another budding business. These students were participating in Loveworks Afterschool Leadership programs, when they began dreaming about what it would be like to start a Silicon Valley Tech start-up in Norman, Oklahoma? 

This dream, with the partnership of Trifecta Communications, launched another kid-run business, Wrist World. These students learned the industry of augmented reality; working with mentors and professionals to learn art, design, marketing, coding, and game development. They combined technology with the accessibility of plastic slap bands to bring their product to life.

The team had the opportunity to travel to the Chicago Toy Fair, and went on to make history by being the first minors to represent their product on the floor of the New York International ToyFair; presenting to buyers from Hasbro, Apple, Amazon, Nintendo, and other Fortune 500 companies. 

Seeking a way to carve an even larger niche in their industry, the team landed a licensing contract with virtual Japanese popstar Hatsune Miku. Their big sales break occurred with a distribution deal with On-Cue and the Wrist World product is available for purchase in stores across Oklahoma, Amazon, Walmart.com, and Etsy. 

With each jar of salsa and Wrist band sold, other kids around the world are being given hope that their big dream can come true. 

Loveworks’ next big dream is to launch Oklahoma’s first program for kids that melds the good things of education with real world business and entrepreneurship experiences.  

Dreams do come true here!  

Questions? Reach out to Brent Wheelbarger at brent@loveworksleadership.org or (405) 308-9717.