Boulder, Broomfield Youth Entrepreneurs Honored By Young Americans Bank

By Shay Castle
Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A Denver based bank recently celebrated the accomplishments of inspiring young entrepreneurs. One young woman (who is now 17) has been running a greeting card company since she was 6!!!!!

Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo.

Hannah Isenhart has been running a greeting card company for 11 years. Her life is in transition, and she’s begun training her replacement so that she can step back from her role as CEO and focus on other things.

Like college.

Hannah is 17, one of two local youth entrepreneurs who are being celebrated for their business savvy by the Denver-based bank whose clients are all under 21 years of age.

Hannah, a senior at Lafayette’s Alexander Dawson School, took the top prize in the 16-21 age group for her company Hanimals, a greeting card line which features photos of stuffed animals in natural habitats.

Broomfield’s Jack Bonneau, a 10-year old sixth-grader, won his age category (6-11) for his namesake chain of lemonade stands. Both entrepreneurs won $1,000 from the Young Americans Center for Financial Education and one-year mentorships with local business leaders.

Jack was particularly excited about his pairing with former Denver Bronco Reggie Rivers. And Hannah is hoping her mentor, Skate City owner Jeff Ingrum, will help her figure out her exit strategy.

“Ideally, I still want to be involved in Hanimals when I’m at college (she’s committed to play soccer at Boston’s Tufts University) and I want to check in but not micromanage it,” Hannah said. “Lily (a Dawson seventh-grader she’s been working with) can handle the day-to-day and check in with me on some of the more big-picture things.”

As for the cash, both Hannah and Jack plan to reinvest it into their business: Jack, to train more youths to run more lemonade stands, and Hannah to help kids start their own Hanimals card lines.

That teaching component is what made Jack’s Lemonade Stands and Hanimals such stand-out businesses, said Janet Redwine, communications director for Young Americans.

“They’re both really interested in giving back their talents, and that is what our organization is about: Giving young people that entrepreneurial experience,” Redwine said.

The Young Americans got its start as a bank of the same name that catered exclusively to clients under 21. An FDIC-insured, for-profit institution, it provides all the services (loans, credit cards, CDs) of an adult bank.

The nonprofit Center for Financial Education and its many programs sprang from the bank, with the goal of increasing children’s financial literacy.

That goal is shared by Jack, who trains kids to operate Jack’s Lemonade stands.

“It benefits you so much because you get to learn how to count money and what it’s like to have a business,” he said. “Some days you make money and some days you lose, but it just teaches you that you have to keep going.”

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