Scion to ‘kickstart’ young entrepreneurs with its own small-business incubator

Scion Logo on the 2013 FR-S

Scion has always been the bratty brand of Toyota’s stable. And by bratty we just mean youth-focused. While Lexus is out sipping champagne and dining on the finest caviar, and Toyota is busy checking books out of the local public library (or whatever else it is responsible people do), Scion is playing beer pong and taking selfies in the mirror. At least, that’s the image projected by Toyota, which is heavily courting the early driver market. But rather than seek money from our vibrant younglings, the Japanese automaker is looking to shell it out, to the tune of $10,000.

As Automotive News reports, Scion kicked off a new youth-oriented program today, a small-business incubator called Motivated, designed to help kickstart young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35. The chosen few will be selected from the fashion, design, music, and art communities and, as mentioned, receive $10,000, a new Scion vehicle (we’re hoping a 2013 Scion FR-S) and a six-month mentorship from an existing and successful small-business owner. 

“This is about turning people’s passions into a career,” Owen Peacock, Scion national manager of marketing and communications, said in an interview. “It’s not for the dreamer who thinks, ‘Someday.’ This is for the person who has taken the first step, signed a lease and incorporated,” Peacock added.

While many enterprising individuals will undoubtedly enter, only 50 will be brought to Los Angeles for a three-day small business seminar that will include panelists and guest speakers, presumably connected to the aforementioned industries. Of the 50 semi-finalists, 10 will ultimately be chosen for the grand prize.

In a clear attempt to generate buzz and excitement, Scion plans to document the competition and broadcast the 10 winners’ initial six-month business period via the Web.

Of course, competitions like these are twofold: they harvest young talent and generate brand interest. According to Toyota, Scion’s U.S. sales have grown 50 percent this year and the proud parent company will no doubt want to see that figure continue to grow.

Those interested in Motivate have until the end of January to submit their entries, with the top 50 selections to be announced in February.

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