When Erik Amato’s 13-year-old daughter asked him for help starting a babysitting and pet-sitting business, his own business idea was born.
“I was amazed at the changes I saw in her,” said Amato, who lived and worked in Phoenix at the time. “I thought, ‘Boy, wouldn’t it be great to do something of value — to produce something for others like I had for my daughter?’ ”
Nearly 10 years and $100,000 in investment later, the Morro Bay resident is running Biz Whiz Academy, which uses online classes and workbooks to provide children ages 7 to 19 with the business skills necessary to become entrepreneurs. Amato also continues to work as a telecommunications consultant with his company, AVCI.
The classes, which cost $20 each, focus on teaching students skills such as money management, how to make a business plan, résumé writing and even how to buy their first car. Each age group (7 to 11, 12 to 15 and 16 to 19) has a specific business plan tailored to its needs, Amato said.
“We can show kids and teens how to compete in a tough economic market with adults,” Amato said.
Biz Whiz Academy recently partnered with Office Depot and Amazon to offer discounted materials such as notebooks, computers and other office supplies. It is also competing in Intuit’s best small-business competition for the chance to win a free Super Bowl ad spot.
More information can be found at bizwhizacademy.com.