It comes as little surprise that local Grade 5 student Maya Robinson’s product idea was a winner in the eyes of the judges.
After all, ‘Lift Me Up’ has all the hallmarks of a food that would fly off the shelves of mountain towns the world over, being extremely portable and healthy—not to mention delicious!
Maya Robinson hatched the idea for the project during one of her long ski days with the Sun Peaks Alpine Club.
This year, the team isn’t stopping for lunch, meaning participants are on the slopes all day and have to bring their lunch with them.
“We weren’t allowed to have a lunch break when we were in ski club, so I had to eat a lunch that fit in my pocket,” said Robinson. “I was eating granola bars and chocolate, but those were not very good for me. So then I thought of my product.”
Lift Me Up’ is a trail mix for the current age, being gluten-free, organic, healthy and allergy-free. One can picture it sitting proudly on the shelf of a Whole Foods or other health food store.
The mix includes dehydrated sweet potato, apple chips, chickpeas, chocolate, pretzels, nutritional yeast and tumeric.
The Sun Peaks School Junior Dragon’s Den project was conceived of as a way to give students the opportunity to develop and present a product of their own creation.
Styled in the same fashion as the hit CBC television show “Dragon’s Den,” students presented their project to four judges: Nathan Cross, general manager of Bottoms Bar & Grill; Marlie Marchewka of Designs by M & J; local artist Zuzy Rocka; and Jase Petersen of Alpine Fitness.
Students in Mrs. Schmalz and Mrs. Gray’s classes took part, with six groups eventually presenting to the judges.
In order to win, Robinson had to lay out a strong case for her product.
It currently costs $16.89 to make one bag of the mix, and she will sell it for $18.99, creating a profit margin of $2.10, she explained.
“However, if I were to buy in bulk as my company grows, the product will be cheaper to make and sell.”
Robinson added there is a big potential market for ‘Lift Me Up.’
“The market is athletes, parents, teachers, kids, or really anyone who wants to buy a healthy snack for school or work,” she said.
“I will sell my product on social media and at the farmers market first, and work my way up the Bluebird Market, other small markets, and then maybe even bigger stores, like Amazon and Costco.”
Robinson’s business model is also infused with a sustainability ethos. If you return the bag the mix comes in, she will refill it at a 30 per cent discount off the original price.
Robinson’s father, Jeff Robinson, lauded the Dragon’s Den project as a terrific learning experience for everyone involved.
“As a parent, I’m just really happy with the school and the effort that they put into some of these projects,” he said. “To be able to present like that, in front of four judges, is a really good lesson in itself.”
Maya Robinson said her big takeaway, educationally speaking, was the importance of creating a sound budget.
But she also appeared to learn an important lesson on time management.
Having originally thought that the project was due a Monday before it actually was, she ended up having to pull an all-nighter—or at least a Grade 5 version—to get it done. “I was up to like nine o’clock finishing it,” she recalled.
“And then I found out that it wasn’t due to the next Monday.”
Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.