When Alexina McQuilkin entered the Beta Bowl virtual entrepreneurship immersion as a high school sophomore, she had no technical, business, or design background. What she did have, however, was an idea for an app to rejuvenate the brick-and-mortar businesses that have been declining between the rise of online shopping and the pandemic-induced lockdowns. As a former three-sport athlete with an unusually open schedule due to the pause on in-person activities, Alex dedicated her newfound free time to scoping out her app idea and turning it into a viable business venture. By the time she completed the Beta Bowl entrepreneurship immersion, Alex had her business plan, financial model, pitch deck, and app mockup in hand. For most aspiring entrepreneurs with little more than an idea, that’s where they stop – until or unless they can attract funding or team members to bring the mockup to life in a ready-to-beta-launch minimum viable product. Alex is a cut above most aspiring entrepreneurs, and she proved that over the next 12 months.
Alex spent the 5 months after Beta Bowl teaching herself how to build a no-code working beta version of her app, transitioning from a Figma mockup to a Glide apps MVP. Since then, Alex has taken the bold step so few aspiring entrepreneurs do: She’s stepped outside her comfort zone to network with and pitch her app to prospective beta customers, as well as to investors, universities, and multiple entrepreneurial accelerators and incubators that have welcomed her with connections, positive feedback, and an open door into their programs. Alex isn’t just an aspiring entrepreneur with an idea; she’s a teen who’s motivated to change the world and improve the brick-and-mortar customer acquisition and engagement battle with her novel solution, Local Treasure. If you combine Pokémon Go with mobile-focused digital marketing tools with geo-targeting capabilities, that’s her venture – and the benefits extend to both businesses and their B2C customers. Alex exemplifies the one trait entrepreneurs – young and old – need to succeed: undeterred resourcefulness. She’s currently seeking out campus-centric beta testers at select universities to help resurrect the college town brick-and-mortar ecosystem and economy, while also sharpening her marketing and tech-specific skillset with independent study and AP computer science courses.
When asked about Alex’s progress and success, Beta Bowl founder Rachel Greenberg told us: “If Alex’s impressive strides on Local Treasure prove anything, it’s that driven teens out there are capable of changing the world and improving the business landscape, and a heavy course load, lack of prior technical skills, and a pandemic doesn’t hamper that.”In these disruptive and unprecedented times, innovation isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business owner interested in beta testing Alex’s app – or an intern looking to help a burgeoning startup grow – feel free to contact Alex and the Local Treasure team.