Teen’s venture places 2nd in national competition

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published July 29, 2021

 Carter Koenigsknecht created Small Business City Boxes.

Carter Koenigsknecht created Small Business City Boxes.

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TROY — Troy 13-year-old Carter Koenigsknecht has always had a special place in his heart for small businesses. He discovered a personal favorite of his, Chunk Nibbles, a few years ago at the Troy Farmers Market.

Now, after earning second place in the Kids Idea Tank national competition — where students are selected to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges, much like the popular entrepreneurial TV show “Shark Tank” — Koenigsknecht is hoping to use his business idea, Small Business City Boxes, to help small businesses across the country gain more exposure.

“I was inspired to become an entrepreneur from watching the TV show ‘Shark Tank.’ Watching people pitch their own creative ideas to judges that can help their business grow was really inspiring,” he said in an email. “For a panel of top-notch, nationally known entrepreneurs to see potential in my idea, especially among so many incredible kids across the country — it is crazy.”

Small Business City Boxes will be a monthly subscription-based delivery service that curates and delivers small business’s products packaged together from across the United States.

Koenigsknecht has been working to build Small Business City Boxes “for a few months now,” he said. The business has not yet launched publicly.

“We are still working on perfecting everything before we release Small Business City Boxes to the public. We are hoping that our Small Business City Boxes will be in local hotels and available for purchase before 2022.”

Taking home second place, Koenigsknecht won $500 in funding for his venture, which is an achievement itself, Kids Idea Tank creator Lowey Bundy Sichol said in an email, but perhaps more impressive was that Koenigsknecht has already thought through some of the judges’ ideas, she said.

“Perhaps my favorite moment in Carter’s presentation was when a judge asked him if he had considered talking to hotels, and without hesitation Carter explained he had and went on to share his detailed thoughts behind that distribution strategy. It was a great moment,” she said.

The first-place winner received a $1,000 prize that was matched by judge Stacy Madison, the founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips and BeBold Bars. The audience favorite winner also took home $500.

The student entrepreneurs, or “kidpreneurs” as they’re called in the competition, were judged based on five categories, Bundy Sichol said: the creativity of the idea, the idea’s viability, the idea’s ability to scale in the market, whether the idea solves a problem, and whether the kidpreneur is prepared and passionate.

The last category — preparedness and passion — is perhaps one of the most important aspects needed to create a successful business, Bundy Sichol believes.

“Carter’s idea is very viable for a couple of reasons. One, Carter has already taken the first steps to test his idea, calculate costs, talk to small businesses and create a prototype. There seems to be great interest across the board,” she said. “Two, and perhaps more importantly, Carter is a passionate, bright young entrepreneur who believes in his idea and is willing to work for it. You can have the best idea in the world, but at the end of the day, if you don’t have passion and a hard work ethic, it’s just an idea. Carter has what it takes to become an entrepreneur with a successful business.”

As the pandemic has exacerbated issues for small businesses particularly, including an increase in online shopping, Koenigsknecht hopes his business can help reconnect consumers with small businesses across the country.

“I hope that eventually people all across the country have the opportunity to support small businesses in a fun and unique way through my boxes,” he said. “I have so many ideas and I’m just getting started.”

For more information, visit the business’ forthcoming website smallbusinesscityboxes.com.

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