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Florida 4-H offers a virtual experience for young entrepreneurs to showcase their product

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida 4-H Youth Development Program, in partnership with the Florida Afterschool Network, Birdseed and Tkiba, is on a statewide search for the most innovative young entrepreneurs, inventors, creators, and businesspeople! The Gator Pit is a free program open to all youth ages 14-18 in the state of Florida.

Each year, youth are taught how to transform an idea into a viable business. These participants will demonstrate goal setting, financial literacy, creativity, communication skills and effective marketing skills. The Gator Pit is entirely virtual this year, and youth can choose which components to participate in.

The Gator Pit is broken down into four components: educational sessions, inspirational open discussions, pitch training and connections to be successful post-program. These components not only prepare youth to launch their business but also to provide youth with the building blocks to be a successful entrepreneur. Sessions start March 22.

A 4-H member presenting a business idea. Images were taken prior to national guidelines of face coverings and social distancing.

Youth can choose from three categories: physical product, service offering or a technology solution.

Past participants have said the program helped them to “think like an entrepreneur, develop a plan and a pitch, and succeed from there.”  Business ideas have ranged from beekeeping, goat soap making, smoothie businesses, drone technology, and even ideas centered around social causes.

Youth can enroll individually or as a team of up to four members.

All youth must register in Florida 4-H to participate. Youth who wish to compete in the pitch competition have the chance to win $1,000 for first place, $350 for second place and $250 for third place, applications are due June .

For more information on the Gator Pit visit www.thegatorpit.com or contact Vanessa Spero, regional specialized 4-H Extension agent, Vspero@ufl.edu.