Business

Missouri kids’ chicken-keeping kit faces rivals in Warren Buffett challenge

Simeon and Lilian Buie’s E E Farm sells Eggpreneur Kits for keeping chickens in a less rural setting. It comes with not only a coop but also six chickens. They will present their business idea to legendary investor Warren Buffett and other judges in a competition in Omaha.
Simeon and Lilian Buie’s E E Farm sells Eggpreneur Kits for keeping chickens in a less rural setting. It comes with not only a coop but also six chickens. They will present their business idea to legendary investor Warren Buffett and other judges in a competition in Omaha. Courtesy of the Buie family

Keeping chickens has gained an urban appeal, and two kids from Marshall, Mo., hope to capitalize on the trend.

Lilian Buie, 9, and Simeon Buie, 12, started a business to sell chicken-keeping kits. For $200, E E Farm will sell you a coop and fencing to surround it, a feeder, waterer and a 50-pound bag of chicken feed.

Plus six laying hens. That’s right, chickens included.

“We build the chicken coop, and we have to raise the chickens until they’re old enough to lay, which is usually about six months,” Simeon said.

The Eggpreneur Kit, as they call it, is aimed at helping less rural folks hatch an egg business in a small space. Like in town.

Lilian, Simeon and their business idea are finalists in the fourth annual Grow Your Own Business Challenge by the Secret Millionaires Club, sponsored by the Fairholme Foundation and backed by Omaha investor Warren Buffett.

The Buies are heading to Omaha for the finals, a live presentation of their business idea and the Eggpreneur Kit to a panel of experts led by Buffett.

Two other teams will present their business ideas: Team-Up Techies from Atlanta and the Keep Track Sticky Back team from Omaha.

Five finalists in an individual competition are kids from New Jersey, Florida and Indiana.

In all, 4,000 children from 7 to 14 entered this year’s event, which organizers said was a record. Winners get $5,000.

To reach the finals, teams and individuals made videos. In theirs, the Buie children show off the kit.

They’re using wood from an old barn that was their grandfather’s. A tornado blew it down, and they’re being green and economical in reusing the boards.

Rebecca Buie, their mom, said the wood gives the coops a rustic look but acknowledged that they still are chicken coops.

“It’s not going to be a yard ornament,” she said.

Buie had learned about the competition on Facebook in mid-January, and her children, taking a cue from their mom’s several sideline businesses, wanted in. The application deadline at the end of the month loomed.

“They started thinking about things they knew,” Buie said.

For home-schooled farm kids growing up about 80 miles east of Kansas City, that means raising animals, and that’s how the business idea was born.

Lilian, who doesn’t think she’s been to Omaha before, said there’s more to E E Farm than chicken-keeping kits.

“We have a website where kids can log on and visit us because we have a blog. They can talk with us about agriculture,” she said.

The website also will post tips on raising and caring for chickens, which Simeon said is easy. It’s why they’re his favorite among the goats, sheep and llamas the Buie family raises on 167 acres.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at mdkcstar.

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