In 2001, 9-year-old Marcel was told by his father that if he wanted extra spending money, he needed to figure out how to earn it. Together with his father, Marcel decided to use the family worm farm, which converts kitchen veggie waste and paper into a great compost and a liquid fertiliser. He called it “Worm-Wee”.
So Marcel gathered 10 empty 1-litre juice bottles, filled them with worm-weez, designed and printed labels, glued them onto the bottles, and wrote up a short sales script to say at the door. It said …
“Hi, my name is Marcel.
I just started my own business that's good for the planet.
Have a look at this”.
Marcel was quite nervous and more than a little skeptical about to sell his WormWee to his neighbors. To ease his mind, his father told him that the first 20 doors he knocked on were just practice and that Marcel was absolutely NOT to sell to anyone. Marcel and his father set a goal—if Marcel spoke to people at 20 houses without selling anything, his father would give him a five-dollar bonus.
So now Marcel was sure to earn at least five dollars, so off he went down the block. By the time he reached the third house the plan was ruined! Marcel made his first sale by selling 1 litre of worm-weez for three dollars. Over the next 30 minutes, all ten bottles were sold and Marcel’s business grossed its’ first $30.
Over the next 12 months and 300 houses, Marcel developed goal-setting and money management skills, gained self-confidence, and felt pride in telling people that he ran his own business.
He also enlisted some friends to help him sell the worm-weez, and they got up to an incredible 70% closing rate on their sales.
Marcel’s father was amazed at his son’s sales, and wondered why he and his friends were so successful. He concluded that people wanted to support Marcel’s entrepreneurial spirit. Marcel’s father figured that the “environmentally friendly” angle didn’t hurt, either.
Several things became clear to Marcel’s father, among them were these three important concepts…
youth like money and are willing to work for it
people like supporting a business that is good for the planet
people like supporting young people who are being entrepreneurial
The seed of a new business concept took root and started to grow in the mind of Marcel’s father over the next two years.
In conjuction with a group of staff and students at the University of Auckland, a business plan was formed for myKidsBiz (as it was then called) and entered into the Spark* Entrepreneurship Challenge at the University. Out of 64 business plans entered, myKidsBiz won 2nd place, $10,000 cash, and 90 days in the University of Auckland business incubator called the ICEHOUSE.
myKidsBiz started testing the potential market in April 2004. As of June 2004, over 650 youth had joined the program. 15% were under the age of 12, 65% were aged 12 to16, and 20% were aged 17 to 19. These 650 youth added a further 1200 grown-ups as their potential customers.
Once satisfied that youth would register, the project was put on hold until the resources were available to focus full time. Over the next year, the team continued to develop the program.
In late 2005 the company (now called 3P Ventures Limited) raised its first $25,000 from an angel investor. Over the next 6 months over 2500 youth joined from over 100 schools. my3P raised over $100,000 from some of the most experienced investors in New Zealand. Towards the end we were growing at over 3% per day. Since we did not have a real business model and we were growing so fast, it was decided to shut down until we could come up with a sustainable model to expand the program. As can happen when things get shut down, the team dispersed to take on other projects and my3P was dormant for almost 5 years.
In 2011, we started thinking about the successes of the program and how the business model could be make sustainable. By talking to a wide range of entrepreneurs it became obvious that many people believed that this program would be important for any local community to introduce to their youth.
Which brings us to where we are now.
Welcome to the next stage of my3P.com