Our “Profit to SHARE!” Mission
BizGym Foundation’s mission is to empower the disadvantaged, particularly low-income and disenfranchised youth to achieve positive legacy through business.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, BGF provides educational programs that teach business, entrepreneurship and financial literacy in combination with charitable giving. Our goals include inspiring the disadvantaged, enhancing their business skills and leveling the playing field for all. To accomplish this, we teach business and social venture arts as essential life skills that can be employed for the betterment of both individuals and the community at large. In short, we teach how to do great business with a giving heart. Our mantra: “Profit to SHARE!”
Our “Lean Startup” Backstory
Founded in 2012, BizGym Foundation is a Honolulu-based 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that grew out of BizGym.com, a cloud-based business strategy software that uses Lean Startup and Design-Thinking techniques to make business development fast and easy. BizGym.com has proven so easy to use that students as young as middle school use it to create businesses including formal business plans and 5-year financial projections. BizGym.com includes embedding pop-up tips and examples that encourage positive business values and social venture techniques. One of BGF’s primary functions is to make BizGym.com tools available to disadvantaged and disenfranchised individuals, including youth that are mature enough to read and write basic English.
BGF produces several live event programs centered around entrepreneurial skills development. Our flagship program, Lemonade Alley, is a hands-on contest where teams of K-12 students create recipes, build lemonade stands and sell lemonade to support the charity of each team’s choice. The competition combines entrepreneurial, financial and philanthropic literacy. We specifically target economically and socially disadvantaged youth through local outreach to rural communities. Educational curriculum includes printed Lemonade Alley Workbooks and a series of free Saturday workshops preceding the event. The first 5 years of the Honolulu-based Annual Event has seen over 100 teams raising $41,102 for 36 local charities. Lemonade Alley is an annual family fun day with approximately 2,000 attendees.
In 2015, Lemonade Alley was made available by license to other groups desiring to produce their own Lemonade Alley event. The first licensed event being held by NBC Bay Area and Fremont YMCA at the Fremont Arts & Crafts Festival. At that event, 15 charity lemonade stands were featured to over 400,000 attendees. Other smaller Lemonade Alley events are also being held in various locations.
We also operate a division called StoryUArts that teaches the art of business to creative people. StoryUarts programs serve adults as well as children. Key programs include: Hawaii Sketch Comedy Festival, produced in conjunction with the Honolulu Museum, a conference-like event for actors and writers of improv and sketch comedy that attracts approximately 250 attendees; Camp BizGym, a 5-day summer camp for K-12 students to create businesses of their own; BizPitch Camp, a 2-day workshop to teach startups pitch basics, and; My Teachers Got Talent, a showcase event that teaches business and promotions to performing arts teachers.
BGF has been recognized by the media and various organizations including:
- 2015 Charity of the Year Finalist, Pacific Business News
- 2015 Social Impact of the Year Finalist, Hawaii Venture Capital Association
- 2014 Charity of the Year, BBB Hawaii
- 2013 Non-Profit Business Plan Competition Runner Up, Hogan School of Business, Chaminade University
- Multi-Year Proclamations: Mayor of Honolulu, Governor of Hawaii, Hawaii State House of Representatives & Hawaii State Senate
During the economic recession of 2011, Lemonade Alley was created as a press opportunity for local businesses to gain global visibility during the world leaders’ APEC Summit. The idea was simple: place a few lemonade stands in the middle of a baseball field with kids selling lemonade. The image was intended to send a simple message that back-to-basics innovation and small business techniques are the path to achieve mantra of, “Save the Economy!” In 2 months of planning, the event took on a life of its own resulting in a family fun event featuring 32 lemonade stands surrounded by a crafts fair. Yellow umbrellas emblazoned with the slogan were proposed as a “rain plan” and a “Raising of the Umbrellas” segment was created to sign-off the Closing Ceremonies. This tradition has endured at Lemonade Alley where kidpreneurs send their commitment to be creative in their thinking to make the world a better place.