Round of applause for young entrepreneur

Aodhan Braun knew there was a better way after watching his Pacific Heights classmate struggle to reach a book on the top of a shelf.

For the 12-year-old’s project in the school’s entrepreneurship fair, Braun created the Handy Hand, a device that serves as an extension of a hand.

“It’s very handy to reach higher places,” Braun told Peace Arch News last weekend.

Braun made the hand-shaped device out of cardboard, fishing string, key rings and beads. Each finger and thumb are individually controlled by pulling on the connecting string.

Through the success of the school’s entrepreneurship fair, Braun was invited to participate in the PowerPlay Pitch Competition, which was held July 2.

In the competition, the South Surrey student was one of 27 students invited to pitch an invention to a panel of judges at the Simon Fraser University Surrey campus.

There, he was named PowerPlay Young Entrepreneur and received a $250 gift certificate.

His device was also named the most creative.

It’s not just the invention itself that gave Braun an edge. He developed a full business plan for the project and was able to sell 16 of the devices at the school’s entrepreneurship fair.

“There were a few problems I ran into while selling it at school,” he said.

“One of the problems was I noticed that the kids didn’t have as much money as I thought they were going to have. Instead of selling it for $10 as I would on the street, I had to go with $7.”

Each hand cost him $4.84 to make, and he donated 10 per cent of his profits to the BC Children’s Hospital.

The PowerPlay program was designed to foster entrepreneurship in students ranging from Grades 4-7.

Bill Roche, who founded PowerPlay in 1999, said the students are a great example of what’s possible when entrepreneurship is taught at an early age.

“I was just blown away by the level of engagement and creativity of the students, many of them I haven’t met before,” he said.

“Just seeing how seriously they took the idea of being a business owner – they were very proud of their accomplishments and exceeded my expectations.”

Braun told PAN he’s “very thankful” for the opportunity provided by Roche.

The program is made possible through a donation made by the Charles and Eve Chang Foundation, which sets to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation in B.C.


South Surrey student Aodhan Braun, 12, with his Handy Hand. (Aaron Hinks photo)

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