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On a recent Thursday evening, the “best of the best” youth entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges. These 16 middle school students won top honors at their school’s Colorado Uplift YouthBiz StartUp pitch competition, and convened for the finals to compete for the top prize: $250. Their creativity and professionalism impressed judges and audience members alike!
- Daija, Alli, and Jackson, the team from Morey Middle School, created the Breakfast Box. This vending machine provides healthy breakfast options in hospitals, schools, and places of work, and it even includes a microwave to warm food. The team plans to donate a percentage of their profits to local homeless shelters.
- Cash In, created by Roberto, Aaliya, and Cynthia from West Leadership Academy, helps kids wake up on time in the morning by depositing money in their bank account. Parents approve the transaction. Judges complimented the team’s creative solution to an age-old problem.
- The Dream Team from Skinner Middle School, comprised of Giovanni and Vehha, created Asian-inspired clothing. “People like to be fashionable,” said Vehha in their presentation. “Our clothes are inexpensive, and they allow people to be creative.”
- In an effort to help keep kids safe in school zones, Lake Middle School’s Drea, Fernando, and Leah invented the iBot. This app connects to your car and automatically slows the vehicle if it’s travelling above the speed limit. They plan to donate a percentage of their profits to organizations that help kids recover from traffic-related injuries.
- For kids that need to carry medication with them, Elizabeth and Leveah’s Gel Bag is the perfect solution. This team from West Early College created a bag with a cooling compartment and dividers that help kids organize supplies.
- Andrew, Elizabeth, and Ainsley teamed up to create Supertech Shoes. Representing Hill Campus of Arts & Sciences, these custom shoes contain compartments where kids can keep pencils, erasers, notecards, and more. They also track steps. Participating in StartUp taught the group how to work well as a team and how to present their idea. “We learned to be confident and give a great sales pitch—charming people goes a long way!” said Andrew.
Judges for this session included Ray Alvarado from Amica, Ryan Bingham from First Western Trust, Ross Curington from Colorado Uplift, Justin Hawksley from Creative Planning, and Don Kramer from Don Kramer Real Estate. They had a hard decision to make, but the panel awarded the top prize to Supertech Shoes!
Colorado Uplift has partnered with YouthBiz to deliver the StartUp program for the last four years. “Through YouthBiz, these at-risk youth develop confidence, collaboration, and leadership—skills that will help them in school and, most importantly, in life,” said Anna Leer, Vice President of YouthBiz. “We are so proud to partner with Colorado Uplift again this year.”