Loveland Boy Invents Pickleball Bag and Wins Entrepreneurship Contest – Loveland Reporter-Herald


Zakary Cavanagh, a fifth grader at Big Thompson Elementary School, took home a $1,000 prize at the Larimer County Young Entrepreneur Contest for his invention, the Pickleball Pouch.

Cavanaugh, 10, said he’s been playing pickleball and tennis for years, and the idea for the pouch, which is made from a lightweight mesh fabric and straps around the waist, came to him when he was playing pickleball and ran out of balls or needed to Hunt down those who escaped.

Pickleball, similar to tennis but played on a smaller court with racquets instead of racquets, is growing in popularity nationwide, Cavanagh discovered.

The competition was not limited to thinking of an invention and then making the actual product – the participants also had to study the viability of their inventions in the market, advertise to potential buyers and complete other elements of entrepreneurship and business. It culminated in a Shark Tank-style presentation of the company’s merits to a panel of judges.

“Pickleball is a global sport, 4.8 million players, double the number of players five years ago, and it’s America’s fastest growing sport,” Cavanagh said offhandedly while demonstrating his invention Monday afternoon.

Speaking of advertising, part of Cavanagh’s presentation was a commercial featuring family friend Karen Kleber using the product on a pickleball court.

“Do you have another ball?” said an off-screen voice in the ad.

“Good yes!” Kleber replied, pulling a fresh ball from her belt. “I’ve got my pickleball bag!”

The commercial also points out that a special pocket inside the bag can be used to store a phone, keys, wallet or other valuables that players may not want to leave outdoors or in a vehicle.

Though he’s naturally interested in Pickleball, the Pickleball pouch grew out of a broader sense of creativity that Cavanagh’s mother, Marlene Cavanagh, said her son had displayed throughout his life.

He is interested in the business and is already exploring some other potential ventures such as his own brand of hot sauce made from his own homegrown peppers.

“Well I love hot sauce why not make some, maybe sell some to some of the neighbors, eat some myself,” Cavanagh explained.

As for his profits, Cavanagh said he’s already donated 10% to a charity, the Denver Rescue Mission.

“My grandpa was homeless for a while and needed help, and Denver Rescue Mission helped him a lot,” Cavanagh said. He gave his mother a quick look. “I’ll probably bank the rest.”


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