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On Friday, May 20th, YouthBiz hosted the finale of our StartUp program for the students of Aspen Crossing Elementary School. The event took place
at MSU Denver’s Science building as a culminating field trip for participating students. One hundred fifth grade students participated, all hoping to impress local business leaders with their business pitches and prototypes. Over ten days, the students learned how to create a business idea, how to research the materials used to make a product, how to research competitors, how to create a prototype, and how to present a business pitch.
The competition was split into two rounds, with semifinals and then finals. Each group presented their business ideas and product prototypes to judges in 3-5 minute business pitches, with business ideas ranging across a wide variety of products. Anything from new educational software, a revolutionary new water purifier, and an innovative way to protect plants from severe weather were among the multitude of business ideas presented. Once the winners were chosen from each of the 4 semifinal round groups, they competed against each other in a final round. In the finals, students presented to the judges and all of the students in the main auditorium. A major focus of the StartUp program is to teach students confidence in public speaking, and so our finalists had the skills needed to speak to judges in an auditorium full of their classmates.
After the final round of business pitches, Aspen Crossing’s lead teacher announced that one of the volunteer judges was so impressed by the students’ work that he would increase the total amount of prizes. It was with that exciting news in the air that the winning business team was chosen: The QuickUp, a self-driving vacuum cleaner capable of working on any surface, with highly advanced sensors to detect ledges and walls. The winning team was incredibly excited, as were their friends and classmates, as they headed back to the buses to return to school.
YouthBiz wishes the thank Metro State University of Denver for allowing us to use their building for the final business pitch event, the judges for taking time out of their busy schedules to give guidance and advice to our young entrepreneurs, and to Aspen Crossing elementary for partnering with us to provide the StartUp program to their students!