Equipped with a master’s degree in business administration and a gift for writing, Lowey Bundy Sichol ’96 created a successful firm that produced MBA case studies for professors at top business schools.
Immersed in information about hugely successful companies such as Nike, Bundy Sichol often told herself that someone should share those inspiring stories with kids.
Deciding that she would be that person, in short order Bundy Sichol wrote and published four books in a series called From an Idea to... that tell the stories of Disney, Nike, Google, and Lego. The books won multiple awards, including from the National Science Teaching Association and the Children’s Book Council.
Each time Bundy Sichol visited a school or bookstore to promote the series, a handful of children would approach her to share their great ideas for a business or product. That got Bundy Sichol thinking that such potential entrepreneurs, kids “with a headful of ideas,” as she describes them, should have a platform.
From there, she created Kids Idea Tank, which she bills as the nation’s biggest entrepreneurship competition for kids ages 8 to 13. She recently (remotely) held the third Kids Idea Tank. Fifteen finalists pitched ideas to celebrity judges, and one claimed the $2,000 grand prize.
That was Julian Frederick, 13, of Dallas, whose venture is The Step Stool Chef, which aims to empower kids to be more independent in the kitchen through a cookbook, cooking kit, and cooking school, via an app.
Kids Idea Tank has done well even though two of its three competitions took place remotely, during the pandemic. “My hope is to grow this event big enough where we can fly in the finalists to a central location so they can pitch it in person. I think that's a skill that will be with them for life,” said Bundy Sichol, who lives with her family in Chicago and is married to Adam Sichol ’98.
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She is convinced that encouraging children to express and develop their entrepreneurial ideas inspires them to believe in their own ideas and follow their passions. She hears from teachers around the country who feel the same, and who are excited about her books and Kids Idea Tank.
“That tells me, it's great to encourage kids to think differently, or, for them to have these new ideas. I was certainly one of those kids who had a head full of ideas,” she said.
Her newest book, Idea Makers: 15 Fearless Female Entrepreneurs, is due out in March 2022.