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Banks expands his talents, mentors over 75 individuals to be entrepreneurs

Posted on Monday, August 4, 2014 at 9:17 am

Banks stands in front of his young entrepreneurs and gives some tips for their businesses that they created.

Banks stands in front of his young entrepreneurs and gives some tips for their businesses that they created.

Brandon Banks, a former Troy resident, and self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, has been busy the past several years teaching the Entrepreneurship or Bust Business Camp hosted by Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) in Warrensburg, Mo. and the 4-H MU Extension Business Camp, Build-A-Business in Columbia, Mo. He has been able to make a big difference along the way while learning from his mentors and also growing into a mentor for others.

Banks got his start at the Build-A-Business Camp back in 2009, where he created Spot Light Stars. Spot Light Stars was a children’s theatrical production company that held events and camps for the past few years at Bonfils Auditorium in Troy. These camps gave children the tools to be able to perform in front of an audience and construct costumes, props, and sets in just a short week’s time. Since these humble beginnings, he has been working towards helping others make a difference and also improving himself as a teacher.

During his time at these two camps, Banks has educated over 75 young individuals in youth entrepreneurship. Last summer Banks tested the waters with his first time mentoring students at the Entrepreneurship or Bust Business Camp. He was given two students to help and mentor as a trial run. This summer, Banks has taken on 36 campers to mentor and help develop their business goals and ideas, just as he was helped. Twenty of the campers were a part of the SBTDC camp and 16 from the Mizzou business camp.

Banks now attends the University of Central Missouri (UCM) and mentors many young entrepreneurs. He has competed in the MADE Competition at the State Fair in Sedalia, Mo. for four years and has won Youth Entrepreneur of the Year for 2013, 2012, and 1st Runner Up in 2011. This year Banks will compete in the Open (adult) category on August 12.

Brandon Banks (second from left) with his MU student entrepreneurs, Hunter Hedgepath, Taylor Plunkett and Kayle Huff.

Brandon Banks (second from left) with his MU student entrepreneurs, Hunter Hedgepath, Taylor Plunkett and Kayle Huff.

Also competing in the MADE Competition are 13 students that Banks has mentored and guided through the process. These 13 students passed the three rounds prior to the State level and are working hard to make Banks proud of them as they move on to compete against kids throughout Missouri. These students and their ideas are:

Hunter Hedgepath – 15 – St. Robert, Mo. – design custom skateboards and t-shirts – MU Biz Camp Student

Taylor Plunkett – 15 – Wright City, Mo. – design and screen-print custom school-spirit t-shirts – MU Biz Student

Kayla Huff and Sarah Whanger – both 16 –both from Montgomery City, Mo. – cupcakes themed around school sports – MU Biz Students

Cassie Marks – 14 – Warrensburg, Mo. – custom designed special order cupcakes

Lauren Snare – 14 – Warrensburg, Mo. – babysitter training and referral program

Charli Rhyne – 14 – Warrensburg, Mo. – personal laundry service and sandwich delivery

Riah Lefholz and Michael Alexander – both 18 – both from Blue Springs, Mo. – revolutionary prototype for a new locking mechanism

Cameron Kuwata – 14 – Lee’s Summit, Mo. – job search website geared towards Hispanic communities

Ignacio Cabero – 14 – Lee’s Summit, Mo. – reselling comic books and board games

Cameron Courtwright -13 – Warrensburg, Mo. – a lunch catering delivery business

Madison Green – 15 – Warrensburg, Mo. – gourmet dog treats business

Banks speaks highly of his students saying this, “Hunter, Taylor, and Kayla all were students at the MU Build-A-Business camp where I teach. The three of them expressed extreme talent and interest in progressing forward after camp and since there is no after-camp program set in place, I decided to take them under my wing and cultivate them for the competition. Cassie, Lauren, Charli, Riah and Michael, Cameron, Ignacio, Cameron, and Madison were all UCM business camp students. The nine of these students were my campers at my camp at UCM, these students continued to stay in contact with me and expressed an interest in ‘what is next’ after camp. So they took the opportunity to apply and compete in the competition, and I attached to them as a mentor.”

A bio of each student and their work appears on Brandon Banks’ blog at There you can also keep up on all the new and exciting activities that Banks is involved in.

You can attend the MADE Competition on August 12, 2014 at the State Fair in the Lowell Mohler Assembly Hall from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. with awards to follow from 2:30 – 3:30. Everyone is invited to attend and wish these young entrepreneurs luck with their future goals and businesses.