Teenage Entrepreneur Means Business

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KANSAS CITY, Kan.—In a couple of weeks, innovative, enterprising teenagers will gather in New York City to pitch their ideas for cutting edge products. They'll be trying to win college scholarships and big money to launch their products and business plans. And Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever Danielle Stegall will be right in the thick of it.

As the new school year kicks into high gear, teenagers in an early morning class at F.L. Schlagle High School are getting down to business -- the business of starting their own businesses. And on this day they are learning from the best. Senior Danielle Stegall was the star of Schlagle's Young Entrepreneurs Kansas class last year. She's back for a visit in this 7:30 a.m. class with tips for these budding business owners and to show them her own award-winning product idea and business plan.

"My mission statement is to help amusement park goers to find their attractions with a minimum of stress and to save trees," says Danielle to the class as she begins her impressive power point presentation.

With her interactive Amusement Park GPS app for smart phones, Danielle became Kansas champion of a high school competition called Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, mastering business concepts she knew nothing about until last year.

"The money part of it is so difficult," says Danielle with a knowing laugh. "Financials. Figuring out what all the software you have to pay for. All the updates. The other people's percentage in it. Who are you going to pay to help you. And figuring out how much money you are actually going to need to start your business."

That money challenge could be solved as Danielle now goes to the national competition in New York City with a top prize of $10,000 in venture capital to launch her product.

"I think she has one of the top ideas judges are looking for," says Vernon Birmingham of Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas. Birmingham runs the program at several schools and has been Danielle's mentor.

"She also has that great work ethic," says Birmingham. "She has that attitude that she's going to do whatever she needs to do to get this project out there and get it going." Danielle's idea for an app isn't just a pie-in-the-sky class project.

She is confident it can really work and be marketable and that she can make a lot of money with it.

"It's going to hit the market and skyrocket," says Danielle enthusiastically.

But even as she works to become a future business tycoon, Danielle is not about to abandon the goal she set for herself years ago -- to become a pediatric nurse specializing in treating kids who are deaf and/or blind.

"Mostly I just love to take care of little people," says Danielle.

She's taking Emergency Medical Services classes right now in the Career and Technical Education program at Kansas City Kansas Community College as part of her training to be ready for nursing school. And Danielle sees no conflict at all in excelling in both nursing and running a business.

"I figure if I can do them both in one lifetime, why not," says Danielle.

And you just know Danielle is going to have one amazing life.

You can all help Danielle on her quest to launch her interactive Amusement Park GPS app. She's made an "Elevator pitch" for her product and it's on line for everyone to see and to vote for. If she gets the most votes, she'll get thousands in venture capital or for a college scholarship. Go towww.elevatorpitch2011.com to watch Danielle's "Elevator Pitch" and to vote.

Fox 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on Fox 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on Fox 4 News at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Phil Witt, Fox 4 News phil.witt@wdaftv4.com

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