Share This Article
On Thursday, November 10, four groups of aspiring entrepreneurs faced off at the YouthBiz StartUp Pitch Competition, sponsored by Colorado Uplift. Groups from Hill Middle School, West Early College, Western Leadership Academy, and East Middle School each won top honors at their schools’ pitch competitions, so they met at Colorado Uplift for the finals. With $250 at stake, the competition was fierce!
All participants completed the 10-week YouthBiz StartUp curriculum at their schools. In addition to learning about business, the curriculum includes components of self-discovery, leadership, and public speaking, and it is aligned to National Entrepreneurship Standards and 21st Century Skills.
Presenting first, and setting the bar, was the “Joy Bottle” from Hill Middle School. Entrepreneurs Eddie, Steven, and Joneesa devised the Joy Bottle so that consumers can know, instantaneously, what is in their water. “It will be particularly helpful when hiking or camping!” noted Steven. Mariana, Alexia, and Arnold from Western Leadership Academy pitched their business next. Their “Terra X” combined a car and drone to make a new all-purpose type of vehicle. The ATM, designed by Angelo and Angelo from East Middle School, helps young people save money by requiring a card in order to access funds. They even had a real, working prototype of their product. Jazzy, Elijah, and Jaidyn from West Early College presented last with their business “Base,” a quality speaker that easily connects to tablets, MP3 players, and cell phones.
After an intense deliberation, the panel of four judges returned with a verdict. Denise Smith, State Farm Agent and long-time supporter of Young Americans Center, noted that it was a really difficult decision because each business had something unique: the idea, the research, or the presentation. In the end, Base won for their thoughtful analysis of the competition. The three entrepreneurs were thrilled—Jazzy remarked that she couldn’t believe they had actually won!
In the end, even though only one group took home the first-place prize, each of the 11 entrepreneurs gained a wealth of experience. What impressed the judges most of all was the charisma, professionalism, and confidence of every presenter—skills that will enable these youth to be successful in life as well as business.