Eleven enterprising teens pitched creative business ideas from athletic clothing and GPS stickers to affordable rental housing, platforms for mental health, script sharing, and inventors, and even genetically modified fish in the ELEVATE competition at Allendale Columbia School on January 21st, 2021.
In the culminating activity for AC’s semester-long Essentials of Entrepreneurship class, taught by the Director of the AC Center for Entrepreneurship, Amy Oliveri, students learn to develop the mindset and skill set necessary, using design thinking, to turn ideas into viable products, services, and businesses. The class covers the fundamentals of thinking like an entrepreneur, coming up with new business ideas, attracting investors, marketing their business, and managing revenues and expenses.
Judges Rupa Thind (Associate Director of the Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at RIT), Tony Tepedino (AC Dean of Student Life), and Julie Barrett (AC Welcome Desk Associate), awarded Luca Palomaki ’24 first place for “ScriptArena”, an online platform for script sharing, writing, collaboration, and licensing. Second place was awarded to Myles Wilson ’21 for his “Simple Living” affordable work-for-rent housing concept. Olivia Fries ’23 and her “GPX” GPS stickers for locating household items earned third place honors.
“I love acting, theater, movies, and TV, and I know it’s hard to develop a script and get it produced. I thought ScriptArena was a pretty good idea that I could implement quickly and pitch with enthusiasm,” Luca related. “I usually have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head, and this class helped me figure out how I might be able to develop those ideas into real businesses that could maybe make some money and help people.”
The two-minute pitches were evaluated based on how well students conveyed their project’s value proposition, viability research, competitors, definition and marketing to target customer segments, cost and revenue structures, implementation timeline, and social responsibility.
The other participants offered ideas that also could potentially impact their defined areas of need:
- Greg & Jayden: Athletic clothing line
- Evelyn: Mental health salon – Providing education and mental health training to hair stylists, makeup artists, and nail techs to provide people with an everyday safe space
- Cynara: “Gender Forward” – An online site and app to empower and educate people of all ages about an array of issues regarding gender.
- Natalia: “HND Book” – An app that specialized in providing students with mental health resources, including meditation sessions, advice, podcasts, etc.
- Jake & Cameron: Genetically modified plastic eating fish to solve plastic pollution in our oceans
- Lai – An app to connect young inventors with investors to be able to bring a product to market
“The ELEVATE pitch competition has been a fun way to focus the students on not just learning about entrepreneurship but really developing a problem-solving, entrepreneurial mindset and putting it into practice as an entrepreneur does,” Oliveri said. “They learn that these concepts can be applied to help them take any idea they have in their work, school, or home life and turn it into something meaningful.”
The Essentials of Entrepreneurship class provides an introduction to Allendale Columbia’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which launched in 2017 with a commitment to being a hub for community problem solving and social innovation. Its mission is to “create opportunities for our students/participants to make an impact on the world at an unprecedented level by learning to adapt to a constantly evolving world, connecting globally, and carving their own path. This authentic way of thinking and working develops a universally applicable and transferable mindset and skillset.”
Students can also explore entrepreneurship through the Center’s other courses as well as offerings from the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation. Those courses include Design Thinking, Making An Impact (Locally, Globally), Production and Design, and an Entrepreneurs as Innovators Cohort in which students build upon an entrepreneurial, problem-solving mindset and skill set to bring their solutions to market.
A recording of the pitch competition is viewable on YouTube.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Upper School