Warren Buffett leads 2nd annual "Grow Your Own Business Challenge" for kids

While kids’ business ideas might sometimes seem impractical—homework robots only sell to a niche market, after all—they can lead to big opportunities. For many young thinkers and tinkerers, the time is now to present plans to potential investors, as billionaire Warren Buffett awaits their proposals.

The 82-year-old magnate encourages children to think economically through his national, online “Grow Your Own Business Challenge,” a contest that rockets emerging entrepreneurs with innovative ideas into the business world. The Secret Millionaires Club competition, in its second year and sponsored by the Fairholme Foundation, awards money to kids ages 7–16 with the best industry initiatives. Mr. Buffett and a panel of important others judge four individual and two team finalists on their submissions at a meeting in Omaha in May. One team and individual will get the Grand Prize: $5,000 and, if Mr. Buffett pulls a repeat performance, shares in Berkshire Hathaway B stock (Buffett gave 10 shares to all of 2012's final contenders). Finalists can also nominate educators that mentored and motivated them for the chance to come to Nebraska and win up to $1,000.

Kids enter by filling out an official submission questionnaire online or downloading, printing, and sending or faxing it in—with parent’s permission, of course. Entries are due by February 15, so get little ones brainstorming bright ideas right away. Go to smckids.com for more information, or to watch “Secret Millionaires Club,” the animated webisode series starring Buffett. In each ep, the famed financial whiz mentors three young entrepreneurs and administers pithy advice like a modern Benjamin Franklin: “The more you learn, the more you earn.” It’s not every day you get financial advice from a billionaire. 

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)