A hands-on lesson on entrepreneurship

Being the first to taste a new kids’ sports drink had some second graders jumping out of their seats with excitement.

Second grade students in Pam Olson’s class at Concord Elementary lined up to try a new sports drink, poured by Jesse Palmer of Victoria, Minn. Palmer and John Montague of Edina founded the company Aspire with the goal of creating healthier options for kids. (Sun staff photo by Lisa Kaczke)

Second grade students in Pam Olson’s class at Concord Elementary lined up to try a new sports drink, poured by Jesse Palmer of Victoria, Minn. Palmer and John Montague of Edina founded the company Aspire with the goal of creating healthier options for kids. (Sun staff photo by Lisa Kaczke)

Customers will see a bottle design that was chosen by Pam Olson’s class at Concord Elementary when Aspire’s new drinks hit the shelves, expected in March.

In a lesson on entrepreneurship on Thursday, Jan. 24, Olson’s students learned how a lot of products are created as a solution to a problem from John Montague of Edina and Jesse Palmer of Victoria, Minn., who are the brains behind the new Aspire drinks.

From the clocks on the wall to the chairs the students were sitting on, someone had to create it.

“It’s really all about solving a problem,” Montague told the class.

The problem that college friends Montague and Palmer had was that they couldn’t find healthy sports drinks to give their kids at hockey tournaments. Both pop and sports drinks have a lot of sugar and artificial colors and flavors, Montague told the class.

They decided last year to try to help tackle childhood obesity and Aspire was created.

A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that sugar-filled sports drinks are part of the problem when it comes to childhood obesity. The study suggests children should drink water. However, Montague said it’s not reasonable to expect children to drink only water all the time.

They decided to create a new sports drink that tastes good, but doesn’t have as much sugar, involving researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota.

The result was Aspire’s three flavors – cherry berry called “Fire,” lemon lime called “Ice” and grape called “Storm” – set to roll out in March.

The students were also the first to be able to taste the new drinks. In a blind taste test with five students, they chose four to one the Fire flavor over Gaterade.

“The drink you chose has about one-seventh the amount of sugar as Gaterade,” Montague said.

After the entire class got a chance to taste two of the flavors, some of them literally gave it two thumbs up.

The class will also be the first to see the finished product in March because they helped pick the bottle design.

 

Contact Lisa Kaczke at lisa.kaczke@ecm-inc.com

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