Oct 17, 2013

    Buffett backs new business kit for kids

    EARLIER this year, Mr Warren Buffett congratulated a group of three Kentucky kids for developing kits to help their peers set up businesses.

    Now, the Berkshire Hathaway chairman is helping to teach the young entrepreneurs how tough business can be by backing a competing product.

    Both the new Business in a Box kits and the contest the Kentucky kids won in May are tied to The Secret Millionaire's Club cartoon that features advice from an animated version of the billionaire investor.

    Ms Amy Heyward, one of the co-founders of cartoon-maker A Squared Entertainment, said the company started developing the Business in a Box kits more than three years ago, so there's no direct link to the contest-winning idea.

    But Ms Heyward said she immediately recognised the similarities when siblings Kennedy Sabharwal and Spencer Sabharwal and their cousin, Sawyer Beeler, presented their Kidtrepreneur Kit idea.

    "They should come work for us. They were great," Ms Heyward said. "It's amazing what comes out of kids' heads."

    The kids set up their own website, prominently featuring pictures of Mr Buffett, to sell their entrepreneurial kits with materials to set up a lemonade stand and other businesses.

    The young entrepreneurs didn't immediately respond to a question about their new competition on Tuesday, but they probably won't hold a grudge against Mr Buffett or the Secret Millionaire's Club after winning US$5,000 (S$6,220) and 10 Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock in May.

    The Kidtrepreneur Kit makers will have a hard time competing with the professionally developed Business in a Box kits, even though the homemade Kentucky version is US$5 cheaper.

    The new US$19.99 Secret Millionaire's Club kits come with a booklet of Mr Buffett's business advice and a DVD with three episodes of the cartoon. The first two kits focused on setting up a lemonade stand and a carwash.