Press Release: Denver Startup Week Pitch Competition to Include Team of Student Entrepreneurs

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Denver Startup Week’s fourth annual Pitch Competition will include one team of noticeably younger entrepreneurs. For the first time, student entrepreneurs hand-selected by Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain (JA) and Young Americans Center for Financial Education (Young Americans Center) will compete in their own pitch competition.  One winning business will advance to the adult pitch competition for a chance to win a prize package valued at $100,000 in cash, services, and products to boost their business.

On September 17, four businesses, owned by entrepreneurs ages 12-18, will pitch to a panel of “sharks” at the Denver Startup Week Youth Pass Pitch Challenge. Judges are prominent figures in the Denver entrepreneurship arena with the know-how to spot real potential.

Competing students from JA and Young Americans Center include:

  • Jack McConnell (Boulder High School) and Christian Barnett (Thornton High School) with their business SmartDel Solutions, a secure lock box solution company designed for modern-world deliveries.
  • Mia Hayden and Melanie Zhou (ThunderRidge High School) with their business Oasis Mental Health, a nonprofit company that sells t-shirts and other merchandise with proceeds benefitting mental health resources in several Douglas County and Denver schools.
  • Luke Aden (Dakota Ridge High School) hopes to impress the judges with his business Luke Aden Photography. Additional capital will enable Luke to expand his services, particularly in the field of sports photography.
  • Shouken Lopez (Northfield High School) will pitch his business The Teen Entrepreneur. Through this online class, Shouken offers entrepreneurs of all ages the knowledge to start their own drop-shipping company.


Denver Startup Week Youth Pass Pitch Challenge

Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Common on Champa (1245 Champa St., Denver)

Free to attend and open to the public




About Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain

Now in its 100thyear, Junior Achievement prepares young people to thrive in the 21st century workplace and global economy by inspiring a passion in free enterprise and entrepreneurship and instilling an understanding of personal financial literacy. During the 2019-20 school year, Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain will provide programs to more than 115,000 students in Colorado and Wyoming. These programs are always free to schools thanks to 6,000 volunteers and the generous support of donors. For more information, visit www.JAColorado.org.


About Young Americans Center for Financial Education

Young Americans Center for Financial Education is a nonprofit organization committed to developing the financial literacy of young people, up to age 22, through real life experiences and hands-on programs. The Center fulfills its mission by offering programs that complement and reinforce each other to build life skills, work skills and financial self-sufficiency. These include Young AmeriTowne, International Towne, YouthBiz, Money Matters classes, summer camps and more. In addition, Young Americans Center houses the only real bank in the world for young people, Young Americans Bank, which shares the same educational mission of teaching children to be financially responsible. Since 1987, more than 800,000 youth have participated in the programs or bank. For more information on the Young Americans Center for Financial Education, visit www.yacenter.org.

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