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Start-up business run by kids gets nod from Warren Buffett

From left, Spencer Sabharwal, 16, his cousin, Sawyer Beeler, 10; and 13-year-old sister, Kennedy Sabharwal, showed some of their Kidtrepreneur Kits. The three won the team division of "Grow Your Own Business Challenge," sponsored by magnate Warren Buffett. They met him recently in Omaha, Neb.
From left, Spencer Sabharwal, 16, his cousin, Sawyer Beeler, 10; and 13-year-old sister, Kennedy Sabharwal, showed some of their Kidtrepreneur Kits. The three won the team division of "Grow Your Own Business Challenge," sponsored by magnate Warren Buffett. They met him recently in Omaha, Neb. Lexington Herald-Leader

Business magnate and investment wizard Warren Buffett has recently taken an interest in a start-up here in Lexington. Seriously.

The leaders of the business took a trip to Omaha a couple of weeks ago to visit Buffett and came back with a $15,000 check and some advice from the man many call the most successful investor of the 20th century.

Interestingly enough, the business's top officials are still in elementary and high school.

Three area youths, Kennedy Sabharwal, Spencer Sabharwal and Sawyer Beeler, won the team division of the "Grow Your Own Business Challenge," a national entrepreneur competition sponsored by Buffett's animated series Secret Millionaires Club.

"I was really shocked when we found out we won," said Sawyer, who will be going into fifth grade at Liberty Elementary School in Casey County.

Their winning idea is called Kidtrepreneur Kits, a subscription service where each month subscribers get information on how to make money.

The kits would come in tubes, and contain a newsletter and that month's business idea.

"Say in one there are pumpkin seeds, so they can grow and sell their own pumpkins for money," Kennedy said.

The competition field included 4,000 entries, and out of those only a few got to fly to Omaha to showcase their ideas. There, the team met with other team and individual competitors, and were able to meet with many different business professionals.

"It was very fun, we got to meet a bunch of new kids, and meet famous investors and entrepreneurs around the world," said Spencer, who will be a junior at Sayre High School. "The one guy who invented the magnetic strip on the back of the credit card was there."

Kennedy, who will be a freshman at Sayre High School in the fall, added, "There was a lot of good competition, and everyone's ideas were amazing."

The prize for winning also included 30 shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett's company.

The team has already purchased a domain name for their business website and is starting to develop it.

"We need to design the website and get it going so we can do some online orders, and we also need to advertise too," Spencer said.

Buffett has expressed interest in helping to expand Kidtrepreneur Kits, and make the company a part of the Secret Millionaires Club.

"Mr. Buffett's company will help them to get their business up and running," Tammy Sabharwal, Kennedy and Spencer's mother, said.

This is the second year for the contest. It is sponsored by the Secret Millionaires Club, an animated series that stars Warren Buffett giving advice to kids about how to manage their money and trying to get young people involved in business. It airs on the Hub Network.

Kennedy enjoyed hearing Buffett's advice about school.

"He said that school and grades, they matter, but they aren't as important as the age you get inspired, so as long as you start your business at a young age, that determines how successful you are, not your school and grades."

The team said they had a great time in Omaha, and enjoyed meeting Buffett, whom they described as very down-to-earth.

"It was cool, we even got a picture of us holding his wallet," Kennedy said.

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