High School Entrepreneurs to Present Business Proposals at CIE Competition Finals

Thursday, May 12, 2016

On Saturday, May 14, six high school teams will vie for the top prizes in the inaugural Chancellor’s High School Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition.

“We want this competition to inspire students to collaborate with each other and their teachers to showcase their innovative ideas for products and services with either commercial or non-profit potential,” said Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “We’ve been very impressed by the proposals, especially from the finalists. These students really seized the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship, and I’m glad the task of selecting the best business pitch falls to our faculty experts and not to me!” 

The teams’ 5-7 minute presentations will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The finalist teams in the “not-for-profit” track are Duplin Early College with “Kaz Bowz;” Coastal Christian High School with “Recycle 3D;” and East Columbus High School with “Fun Wheels.” The finalist teams for the “for-profit” track are John T. Hoggard High School with “Freestyle Pack;” East Columbus High School with “BYO;” and Topsail High School with “Candy Compass.”

The final pitches will be judged by UNCW faculty members: Stephen Harper, professor of management from the Cameron School of Business; Jess Boersma, assistant professor of Spanish and director of ETEAL; and Raymond Pastore, assistant professor of instructional technology from the Watson College of Education. The judges will choose first-, second- and third-place winners in each track.

First place winners will receive $1,500 in cash for the school they represent in order to enhance their school’s entrepreneurship offerings. Second place winners will take home $1,000 for their school; third place winners, $500. The students themselves will walk away with trophies and a copy of The Lean Entrepreneur, the book by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits that inspired the competition.

Students from 50 high schools across southeastern North Carolina were invited to register for the competition, founded by Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli in partnership with the CIE, to challenge students to create innovative solutions to real problems and enhance their knowledge of entrepreneurship. The high school teams’ initial presentations were due April 23, and the semi-finalists were announced on May 2.

--Caitlin Taylor