Calling All Entrepreneurs: Tip Fest 2017 / By Jennifer Baeza and Nia Robinson
Every year there is an event hosted by the Chicago Park District called Teens in the Park (TIP) Fest. Many students from all over Chicago come together and enjoy the day with music, art and young entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs, chosen from a contest held in partnership between the Economic Awareness Council, On the Money Magazine, and the Chicago Park District and supported by the Coleman Foundation, were able to show and sell merchandise at the TIP Fest. The entrepreneurs also were able to participate in a series of entrepreneurship training/consultation sessions this summer where they further developed their businesses with the assistance of volunteers from Northwestern University, DePaul University, local angel investors and seasoned entrepreneurs. According to the Harvard Business Review, nearly “70% of teens had jobs [that] are best described as self-employed,” (Harvard Business Review, 2017). The TIP Fest competition allows young Chicago entrepreneurs a chance to highlight their businesses and market their products to a larger audience. Among those entrepreneurs there was Kim Products. She was the youngest entrepreneur featured but was one of the most successful in total sales due in part to her large following on social media. Another entrepreneur was Cameron Green. Cameron is the entrepreneur who started “BornMade”. “BornMade” is based off an expression Cameron’s mother always told him growing up that turned into his own fashion line that includes inspirational messages for Chicago teens and unique graphic designs created by Cameron. Next, “Don’t Feed the Artist” (DFTA) was also at TIP Fest and was started by Yan Philipop and George Cuevas. Philipop says they got their business name from the idea that, “When you’re hungry, you strive to do more. When you are content, you relax.” As long as they are hungry, they strive to do their best and give 100% to their clothing line. What was their advice for a successful business? Cuevas stated, “Be passionate, do everything 100%, and be true to you.” DFTA featured many new items at TIP Fest including custom artwork that can be created on sneakers and products at a new range of price points that appealed to TIP Fest teen attendees. Additionally, Leah Stevenson of “LaQueens ‘n’ Things” was the only entrepreneur to offer a service or experience at the TIP Fest. Not only could customers purchase Leah’s art prints and clothing items such as tee shirts, but customers could pay to use one of Leah’s templates to create their own art. Leah believes that art therapy helps a person’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. According to Huffington Post, at least “45 minutes of creative activity significantly lessens stress in the body, regardless of artistic experience or talent,” (Huffington Post, 2016).