EV Construction launches ‘Shark Tank’-style kids program

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Mike Novakoski. Courtesy EV Construction

A Holland-based construction firm launched a summer program for students to explore and develop business ideas. 

EV Construction announced its Young Entrepreneur Scholarship (Y.E.S.) program, which will provide $10,000 for employees’ children to develop business structures and ideas with mentor help. 

Y.E.S. is eligible to children in grades four through 12 whose parents currently are employed by EV Construction. 

“We are constantly assessing our current workforce needs to ensure we have the staff in place for the projects we are constructing,” said Mike Novakoski, president and CEO, EV Construction. “More than that, though, we are intentional about having a plan in place for attracting the next generation of EV employees. We see the Y.E.S. program as an opportunity to familiarize the children of our employees with EV Construction and pique their interest about opportunities within our organization.” 

Eligible contestants were mailed a letter by EV Construction to introduce the program and invite them to consider their individual talents and interests that might be channeled into a business venture. 

Those interested in participating have until the end of May to respond to the invitation with their idea, learning outcome and the money amount needed to create the project. Applicants are asked to include in their letter a plan for the money they will be provided and ways in which their business project or product will be sustainable. 

EV Construction personnel involved in Y.E.S. then will evaluate the responses to determine how many ideas will be funded and what amounts will be offered to each individual. Accepted applicants will be assigned an EV Construction employee mentor who will work with them through a 10-week period to develop their idea into a successful project. 

At the end of the program, EV Construction will hold a “Shark Tank”-style event for participants to showcase their product or business idea, as well as their learning outcomes. 

Profits made over the amount of the initial loan from EV Construction will be theirs to keep and use to continue expanding their ideas. Based on the presentations, one participant also will be chosen to keep the full amount of their original loan. 

“We are always seeking opportunities to add value to the lives of our employees beyond their paycheck,” Novakoski said. “We envision this program doing that in two ways: first, by using this program to invest in the families of the participants and secondly, by giving the employees who will work as mentors an opportunity to share what they have learned through the course of time and take pride in the wisdom they are able to share. 

“At the end of this experiment, my hope is to see kids who learned and experienced growth throughout the process.”

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