‘Shark Tank’ goes local at Prince George’s Co. police event for entrepreneurial students

The third annual Young Entrepreneurs Program event was held at the Tanger Outlets courtyard in National Harbor on Friday. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)
10-year-old Paxton Bowden pitches his meat-free “Lunchables” at Prince George’s County’s Young Entrepreneurs Program event on Friday. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)
Ten-year-old Paxton Bowden and Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz pose with Bowden’s “Meat-Free On The Go” business prototype at Friday’s event in Prince George’s County. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)

Prince George’s County police hosted a real-life “Shark Tank” event Friday that gave young student entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to community leaders.

This year’s Young Entrepreneurs Program event was the third annual meeting held in the county, as crowds gathered at the Tanger Outlets courtyard in National Harbor to cheer on the leaders of tomorrow.

“They are doing well, and I already know it’s going to be a challenge to figure out who comes in first, second, and third, but they are all winners just for being out here,” police Cpl. Nashawn Taylor said.

Taylor is the director of the department’s Young Entrepreneurs Program, and a business owner herself outside of her long-standing job with the county.

“I own a yacht business,” she told WTOP, “but early on I struggled because I didn’t have the education to make a proper business plan.”

She says that’s part of what inspired her to become the director of the Young Entrepreneurs Program.

“I decided it would be a great idea to have young people learn how to create an develop their own businesses,” Taylor said.

She also says she knows there are many negative influences out there in 2023, so programs like this offer a safe haven for young people to channel their energy into a productive arena.

“I am so happy to be able to have another outlet and another option for them to be successful in their future,” said Taylor.

At Friday’s “Shark Tank” event, a select group of hand-picked students — like fourth grader Paxton Bowden — pitched ideas to other community members and a guest panel of business owners who acted as the “sharks.”

“So I was telling my judges about my business: meat-free on-the-go!” Paxton told WTOP enthusiastically. “I have, like, Lunchables, and I put healthier options in them,” he explained.

“It meant everything to me,” 10-year-old Paxton said of being able to share his business idea with people he looks up to in the community. “I just wanted to get it out there.“

The young boy’s idea for healthy, meat-free, pre-packaged lunches for students in Prince George’s County was just one of several sparks that Taylor says will help propel the next generation of “business power players” into the future.

“I’m so proud of them,” she said.

“Everybody’s out here,” Paxton added. “I’m getting recorded, and I get to have my business — shout it out!”

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Matt Kaufax

If there's an off-the-beaten-path type of attraction, person, or phenomenon in the DC area that you think more people should know about, Matt is your guy. As the features reporter for WTOP, he's always on the hunt for stories that provide a unique local flavor—a slice of life if you will.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up