High school entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investors. Photo: Courtesy of Markus Winkler
PARK CITY, Utah. — Yesterday, Park City High School (PCHS) conducted the first of what junior John Trahan hopes is many business pitch contests.
Seven students competed in 10-minute presentations based on their own business ideas. Contestants pitched ideas from clothing brands to photography to insect metal art.
Students submitted business ideas before a March 12 deadline; Trahan then selected 15 applicants. Contestants received guidance about their initial pitches from the Park City Angels, a group of local seed investors that mentored the applicants over Zoom. During the completion, judges assessed and scored the pitches.
Emma Schwartz, 11th grade, won first place with the clothing line she created. Get more information about her company, The Huck Project, at her website. Schwartz said, “It was such an amazing experience overall and everyone involved made it worthwhile. The opportunity for students to participate in an event like this is incredible and I had such a great time putting a presentation together. Thank you to everyone involved.”
Scarlett Cole-Rae won second place. As just an eighth-grader, the judges were impressed with her ability to compete with a group of juniors. She created Lala Lip and Body, a lip and body line with all-natural ingredients.
Corey Welm won third place. An eighth-grader as well, judges remarked that his product was unique and that he was a hard-working kid. He creates metal insect sculptures and believes that his company can bring awareness about climate change and insects’ importance in the world. Check out his website for Maniacal Metal Art.
First place was awarded $3,000. Second place received $1,700, and third place won $700.
Scarlett and Corey both recently come up with their business ideas, while Emma and the other three students had established businesses years before the competition.
The Business Solutions strand of PCCAPS (Park City Center of Advanced Professional Studies) allowed students to choose projects to pitch. Such contests have been created by CAPS programs across Utah and the country.
Trahan raised over $5,000 from friends, family, the Park City Angels and the judges of the competition. The Park City Angels have been vital to the project. They’ve mentored all of the contestants in the competition, and three out of the four judges are Park City Angels. In the contestants’ pitches, they mentioned how they’ll use the money if they won the competition. The money will go back into their businesses.
The student competitors were comprised of five eleventh graders and two eighth-graders.
“I’ve always been interested in business. As a long-time viewer of Shark Tank, I was very enthusiastic when creating a pitch contest at the high school was an option inside the CAPS program,” Trahan said. “I’ve loved the connections I’ve made while working on this project and the skills I’ve learned: problem-solving, communication skills, and learning more about investing. I hope to, one day, work with entrepreneurs in the real world.”
COVID protocols allowed for 20 to 30 people to attend the event in-person in the Lecture Hall at the high school while others watched via Zoom.