CHEK Upside: Lake Cowichan student wins youth entrepreneurship contest

CHEK Upside: Lake Cowichan student wins youth entrepreneurship contest
Riley Morris/Zaney Bird Pencils
WatchRiley Morris' Zany Bird Pencils project landed him a chance to present his business plan to a panel of Simon Fraser University judges.

Fifth-grader Riley Morris is no stranger to creative ideas.

Last December the Drinkwater Elementary School student was featured on the Upside when he launched a campaign to provide seniors homes with bird feeders.

Now he’s back with a new bird-based business plan, Zany Bird Pencils.

“The reason why I created it was because everybody has the same old boring orange and yellow pencils, so I thought if I created this product nobody would lose their product again,” said Morris.

It’s all part of the PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs program. Students from across the island had the chance to come up with their own businesses and pitches.

“The teachers, they ask the students if they want to do it,” said Morris.

“It was a bit unexpected to do it in school because I haven’t done it in the past years I’ve been in school, so it was really fun to do,” added Morris.

“We had to help a little bit in the construction of the pencils with hot glue guns and things like that but for the most part he did all of it on his own and the ideas were his,” said Riley’s mom Kirsty.

Morris’ colourful avian characters won out against hundreds of other submissions and earned him a shot at pitching his business to a panel of judges from Simon Fraser University.

“I just wanted to show my product off and show them the ideas,” says Morris.

“It took a lot of work, a lot of practices, a lot of takes, but he worked really hard at it and came across very confident in his pitch and that came across well to the judges,” said Kirsty.

It was a unique opportunity for a young boy to showcase his entrepreneurial mindset.

“He learned everything to do with profit and cost and marketing and it was a really neat opportunity,” said Kirsty.

“I was really impressed that he got that chance,” added Kirsty.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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