1. Tell us about your business and what makes it unique. Please provide a general description of your product, customers, competitive landscape, and overall performance.
Avian Kingdom is not just award-winning books. The franchise originated from an iPhone game and its popularity propelled it into books, enrichment activities, games, and multimedia challenges that promote literacy and family values. Our customers range from the concerned parents who want their children to excel in school, Fortune 500 companies, local businesses across the nation, to independent school districts and nonprofits.
We have created and implemented the Under Our Wing literacy program unique to the industry. We believe that by helping companies and organizations achieve their marketing and outreach goals, we can also help thousands of children realize their full potential. Our team, content, and cause make for a uniquely diverse organization that understands the true meaning of success.
2. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Describe both your greatest achievements and biggest challenges.
Agustin, a fisherman and father, talked to me for a few minutes during a biking trip around the Huascaran in Lima, Peru. He looked at my Schwinn mountain bike and asked me if I was rich. Confused, I asked him why he thought that. Agustin talk about how Americans have everything from big homes and televisions to fancy new cars. He mentioned he was a simple family man that fished for a living. He pointed at one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. Gesturing to the top of a small hill, he proudly described his family, donkey, and home. I immediately realized how the “American Dream” has somehow skewed into working eight to six until age 65 and retiring so that one can do what he or she always wanted to do. I asked Agustin what he would want to do when he retired. He answered, “I like to fish.” It was at that moment that I realized that the life in your years is more important than the years in your life.
3. How is your business involved with the community you serve? Examples include: giving back to the community, sourcing locally, and/or contributing to economic development via hiring.
We created Avian Kingdom’s charitable branch, the Under Our Wing literacy program, with the intention of increasing literacy rates among at-risk youth. However, the program has done more than just that. Under Our Wing’s outreach efforts, encouraging mentorship, break down generational boundaries and bring communities closer together. Donating bilingual Feathered Tales, intended to be read aloud, creates scenarios in which mentors read to children in their native language, while reinforcing cultural and family values. Many of these children are recent immigrants, driven from their homeland in search of opportunity. Doing our part to help with this complex issue, Under Our Wing has reached hundreds of thousands of children, teachers, mentors, and parents across the United States.
4. What would a $150,000 grant mean to your business and how will you utilize the funds? Please be as specific as possible.
Reaching at-risk kids means overcoming challenges of resources and access to technology. This grant would be used to build additional content that can shift our program from sponsor-supported to a sustainable consumer-supported model. With an injection of funding, we can expand our program quickly, create media-rich content, and reach more children that will benefit greatly from Avian Kingdom’s charitable branch, Under Our Wing. Our current projections would create a sponsor-supported program through 2015.
PR and Marketing Manager: 35%
Creative Creation: 25%
Licensing and Hosting: 10%
Media Buy: 30%
5. What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term growth plans for the business? How will this grant contribute to your plan?
Under Our Wing will continue to help at-risk youth realize their potential. We will tirelessly continue to pursue distributor contracts, school district curriculum approval, and consumer sales through social media and traditional media channels. Within twenty-four months, we believe we will have the necessary revenue to help four thousand at-risk youth each month. This grant can not only help us reach this goal but make it sustainable and consumer-supported through the merchandising of our award-winning books, games, and activities in half the time.
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