Marist High School held its seventh annual pitch night on Wednesday, May 5, which featured students enrolled in Innovative Design for Entrepreneurial Applications (IDEA).
A preliminary round of presentations was held a week prior in which eight teams participated and five advanced to the finals. Students pitched their companies to the audience, including the IDEA executive board, a group made up of successful business leaders from a variety of industries. Potential companies included items for interchangeable athletic cleats, an EpiPen carrier, a travel cup holder liner, a job app, and an electrolyte mint.
After all the teams presented, the IDEA executive board deliberated backstage. It was a difficult decision, but in the end, three teams received some level of funding. The first-place team, E.P.I.C., designed a phone case that would hold an EpiPen for easy carrying and traveling for those with severe allergies and received $10,000 in funding. In second place with a $5,000 funding award, the Out of Ideas team with their web app OnJob, which connects those in need of workers with job seekers through a simple interface. In third place, with a $2,500 funding award, was team E-Z with their E-Z Cup, which is a silicone liner for car cup holders keeping them neat and clean. All three teams will have to meet benchmarks in continuing to develop their company in order to receive full funding.
Pictured above is first-place team E.P.I.C. with team mentor Pat Schuler (from left) Thomas Boland, Kylie Galbraith, George Bilecki, Shannon Bauer, Principal Dr. Katie Baal, and Terence Cox.
Each team worked with an adult mentor throughout the year who brought his or her professional know-how to the group.
"I am proud of all the students. They did an amazing job of growing individually as well as teammates," course instructor Jim Henneberry said. "They've developed lifelong skills including problem solving, cognitive thinking and team collaboration."
Prize money came from donations to the Marist business curriculum initiative, which also includes finance students investing real money in the stock market, a stock market ticker in the cafeteria, and a move toward hands-on business learning in innovative space at the school. “We want our students to have real world learning experiences so they have every advantage entering college and the work world,” President Larry Tucker ’79 explained. “For us that means providing strong curriculum, dynamic space, and current technology. These kids are the leaders for the 21st century, and we want to make sure they have the necessary tools.”
Senior and junior students enrolled in this course created and fully developed their own product or service. Student teams worked through the process of ideation, market research, and business plan development. They learned about marketing, accounting, and human resources, as well as the legal aspects of running a business. This is a hands-on course created to allow students to imagine, design, construct, market, and refine their own business ventures.
Pictured left: Team OnJob-MaryKay Fahey (from left), Nick Baker, Cara Crosse, Alyssa Dilella. Missing from the picture Jack Davies, CeCe Fransen Pictured right: Team E.P.I.C.-Marty Psik, Vincent Tuminello, Dan Dwyer, John McKenna, Dr. Baal, Amaya Grigsby, and Alejandrina Perez