RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. ( TheStreet) -- When you think of entrepreneurs and startup companies, the first thing that comes to mind probably is not a pair of tweens with dreams of websites, mobile applications and business plans.

But Marci Lawson of Garner, N.C., and Ben Brown, of Greensboro, N.C., both 11, made 60-second pitches at the Triangle Start-up Weekend like seasoned pros, competing against 52 adults (including some of the kids' family members) -- and were excited and surprised to see both of their ideas on the list of those moving to the next round.

For Marci, a cheerleader who has performed at competitions and New York Knicks events, it was validation that her idea of building an online social network and mobile app for cheerleaders -- -- might become a reality. All she needed was a team of programmers (referred to as "hackers" at the event) and other business and marketing resources ("evangelists") to work with her on the business model, business plan and building the application and website.

Ben also looked to social media. "It started when I asked my dad for some money. He said, 'Get a job.' I said I was too young. He said, 'Build an app,'" Ben says. "Then I came up with the idea of, a website for kids to learn how to dress, what's in style and to have a way to buy the look."

Phase II of the weekend, held June 3-5 at the American Tobacco Complex in Durham, N.C., entailed getting a team of volunteers from the attendees. The goal of the team would be functioning websites and mobile apps, plus a five-minute pitch on the business model and revenue. The final presentation would take place Sunday before a panel of judges.

Friday night Marci and Ben worked on forming teams -- and each hit roadblocks, ultimately going home without them. "We weren't able to get a team together before we left for the night. It was hard to get up on Saturday and come back," Marci says. "I almost didn't, then I remembered what the speakers were saying about every entrepreneur would hit obstacles. But you keep going, you 'pivot,' so we came on Saturday and started working."

Saturday morning arrived with the two 11-year olds, their parents and a few friends and family working in two groups. Eventually the two groups decided to combine efforts and leverage their skill sets and connections. I was fortunate as the event sponsor to have one of the event volunteers come to me and tell me what was going on. I say "fortunate" because working with Marci and Ben and their parents provided valuable lessons that every entrepreneur needs to learn. Here are a few:

1. Do not take "no" as rejection -- it is an opportunity.
2. Do not be afraid to ask.
3. Know what you want.
4. Share the vision.
5. Believe in yourself and your team, no matter how small.
6. Reach out to friends and ask them for help.
7. Use your network.
8. Get it done!
9. There is no time like right now to start.
10. Stopping is not an option, even when you are disappointed, or exhausted (or the food is bad).

Neither Marci nor Ben won the event. But these two entrepreneurs are just getting started.

Marci's Cheer Chatter team continued to work after the event and are at work today, executing the plan they built at Start Up Weekend. Marci is a cheer captain (you may know it as a CEO) with vision, drive and perseverance, and as a result you can find Cheer Chatter on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and see for yourself how an 11-year-old built a product and a company.

I also have no doubt Ben and his team will be filling the virtual closets of tweens 11-14 online, pulling together a community of tweens who go from "without swag" to "with swag" in no time. The Swagometers (his rating scale for the outfits and apparel items) will be rising.

To paraphrase from Ben's final presentation slide of competitive advantages, the biggest assets these two companies have may just be the kids themselves. They do not know when to quit. They may not have won the event, but I wouldn't be surprised if at the next Start-Up Weekend they're listed as two more companies that launched successfully and are still growing.

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Lea Strickland, M.B.A., is the founder of Technovation Entrepreneur , a program that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into businesses. Strickland is the author of "Out of the Cubicle and Into Business" and "One Great Idea!" She has more than 20 years of experience in operational leadership in Fortune 500 and Global 100 companies, including Ford, Solectron and Newell.