Big business isn’t just for grown-ups.
Producers of ABC’s SHARK TANK are aggressively courting younger viewers — and clearing the way for more junior entrepreneurs to secure funding for their after-school businesses.
“I am hearing that there are going to be a lot more kids coming on the show next season,” investor Barbara Corcoran tells me for a story in today’s New York Post.
SHARK TANK — where inventors and small business owners pitch their products to millionaire investors — has become an unexpected hit among school kids, some too young to hold a paper route.
Six percent of its 6.9 million viewers are under 18, the networks says. That’s more underage eyeballs than any of the network’s other 9 PM shows besides MODERN FAMILY.
“Even though the show deals in the business world, the sharks keep it pretty simple,” executive producer Clay Newbill says.
“The idea of running your own business and the freedom it may bring is not lost on children today.”
On tonight’s season finale, Stamford, Connecticut fifth grader Ryan Kelly attempts to raise cash for his home-based dog biscuit company.
“I’ve always had a thing for business,” he says.
The 11 year-old founded Ryan’s Barkery in March 2012 and has already generated $900 in profit by selling his all natural confections door to door, at school sporting events, and at monthly pet adoption fairs.
“I am putting a little bit away for college and reinvesting the rest of it to make the business better,” he says.
Kelly now employs his two brothers — Nick, 13, and Eric, 9 — to help with the packaging process.
“We need your partnership because I can’t do this and keep up with my homework,” Kelly tells the panel of billionaire investors.
“America was built on an entrepreneurial spirit,” Newbill says. “We hope to encourage that in not just the entrepreneurs of today, but of tomorrow as well.”
Tonight’s episode also features an animated appearance by Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz — the bumbling, animated villain from “Phineas and Ferb” — who offers the sharks a chance to invest in his newest evil invention, The Shrinkinator.
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