Young Meridian entrepreneur ready to make $1 million

Brighton Hood, a 12-year-old Meridian student, is constantly crunching numbers in his free time. Between school, hanging out with friends and metal detecting – a hobby Brighton loves. He’s busy running a business as the CEO of Boot ‘Em OUT – and his goal is to make $1 million.

“I have always wanted to run my own business and when I got the opportunity I was very excited,” Brighton said.

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Brighton Hood, CEO, Boot ‘Em OUT, shows off his boot cover product.

When Brighton was 11 years old he created a boot cover – it slides over your boot when you are not wearing it, and protects the inside fabric from outside critters, rain and snow. He came up with the idea after a real-life experience. His sister put on a pair of boots that had a black widow spider inside — which she didn’t know until she took the boots off.

“After the experience my sister had, I knew I wanted to create a boot cover,” Brighton said. “I had the idea of what I wanted to do, I just needed help creating a real business.”

In January, Brighton joined The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) – a program that teaches middle and high school students how to start and run their own business. YEA! was developed at the University of Rochester in 2004. The Meridian Chamber of Commerce introduced the program this year in Idaho.

“This program takes young people with entrepreneur spirit and helps them develop that spirit while they are young, instead of waiting until they’re middle aged,” said Candy Troutman, program director for YEA!. “When Brighton started with us he was quiet, by the end of the program he was pitching his business to investors.”

Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors, and then launch and run their own fully formed companies and social movements.

Tawyna Hood, Brighton’s mom, has been homeschooling him since second grade. Brighton, a seventh-grader, is taking advanced classes in anatomy, physiology and algebra.

“I love math, and when I do metal detecting I will relate that to my history work,” Brighton said. “I like to play with numbers and figure out how much I need to sell to make a million dollars.”

Brighton received $1,000 from investors and a $500 gift card to get his business up and running. He started selling his product in June, and has sold more than $200 worth of boot covers.

“It wasn’t cheap to get the business started,” Brighton said.

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Boot cover

The YEA! program is holding three information sessions for middle and high school students and parents.

Monday, Sept. 28: 6:30 p.m. at the West Ada School District Training Center, Salmon Room.

Tuesday, Oct. 6: 6:30 p.m. at the Meridian Library, 1326 W. Cherry Lane, large meeting room

Saturday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. at the Meridian Library, 1326 W. Cherry Lane, large meeting room