April 19, 2018
Contact: Sarah Spang, IGNITE! Business Success representative and Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Envision Greater Fond du Lac – email@example.com or 920-921-9500
North Fond du Lac Team Wins First Place in 2018 IGNITE! Youth Idea Challenge
Eight area high school teams pitched their big ideas to a panel of five judges or “sharks” plus an attentive audience at the third annual IGNITE! Youth Idea Challenge on April 18, 2018.
Engaging high school students is a key strategy of IGNITE! Business Success, the go-to resource network of 17 local organizations supporting area entrepreneurs (www.IGNITEfdlc.com). Entrepreneurship is a lifelong process and showcasing the resources available right in Fond du Lac County prepared students taking part in the challenge for bright futures.
Teams worked with a business mentor to refine their idea, submit a business plan, and prepare for the pitch event on April 18. Judges evaluated each team’s pitch based not only how they presented, but also how clearly they described the problem and their solution, value proposition, target market, marketing, how they would make money, and key metrics. Business plans were also judged in advance to create a combined score. Honored judges/sharks at the April event included: Beth Kuehl, co-founder of the Great Plate; Craig Much, business banker at Fox Valley Savings Bank; Amy Pietsch, director of the Venture Center at Fox Valley Technical College; Shawn Pollack, owner of Poco Pizza; and Jeff Stueber, business management instructor at Moraine Park Technical College. Stueber shared: “It was a wonderful experience to have the opportunity to interact with our youth and future entrepreneurs. Their presentations were very informative and their hard work was evident. I hope to be part of this event for many years to come.” Much also shared: “What a great event to showcase the minds of the youth in the area. Congratulations to all the teams for such impressive ideas.”
Pollack, the keynote speaker for the event, walked students and attendees through his entrepreneurial journey and encouraged them to take risks. After the event, he stated: “The future of our community is so bright. After hearing the business ideas of these young, future leaders, I’m humbled by the competency, big ideas, and passion these students exude — not just in the Youth Idea Challenge, but in their everyday lives. I look forward to the day when this generation’s ideas take hold and change the world for the better.”
Scores from the written business plan portion of the competition were added to the scores of the pitch presentation for a total overall score for each team. The top prizes included scholarship money to pursue their dreams plus other special prizes. The first through third place winners include:
- 1st Place $2,000 scholarship winner: C-Ball – Horace Mann High School with a golf ball finding spray and glasses. Mentor- Loree Shady, Hometown Bank
- 2nd Place $1,000 scholarship winner: Team Chloe – Campbellsport High School with affordable makeup palettes. Mentor – Diana Hammer, UW-Extension, Fond du Lac County
- 3rd Place $500 scholarship winner: The Crossway – Fond du Lac High School with a study and extracurricular space concept . Mentor – Steve Leaman, Horicon Bank
Team 5G, Laconia High School, won the Community Choice Awards from the audience for the Most Creative Idea and Best Presentation/Pitch with their customizable, compact grill.
In response to the first place winners Jasmine Spittel and Kaytlin Sterba, superintendent of the North Fond du Lac School District, Aaron Sadoff, stated “We are blessed to have these great ladies represent the Oriole Nation! We’re also grateful to have Kurt (Wismer, instructor at Horace Mann High School) as a leader in our District!” Instructor Kurt Wismer was especially proud of his students and their recognition. “Jasmine & Kaytlin are an excellent representation of entrepreneurship and the passion that it requires to be successful. They consistently put forth the efforts to make their business work, were realistic in their approach, and took feedback as a gift. As students in the new INCubatorEdu entrepreneurship course at North Fond du Lac, they established themselves as a benchmark for the work ethic and have created a positive example for future entrepreneurial students. I am grateful to have worked with them and excited to know that they both have such positive futures ahead of them.”
The event and scholarships were made possible by presenting sponsor Society Insurance as well as Agnesian HealthCare, Mercury Marine, C.D. Smith Construction, Fond du Lac Area Foundation, Michel’s, J.F. Ahern, Drexel Building Supply, Integrity Saw & Tool, Moraine Park Technical College, NBW Bank, Quad Graphics, Summit Automotive, Kondex Corporation, wisnet, and location sponsor Marian University. For more information about the IGNITE! Youth Idea Challenge, please visit ignitefdlc.com/youth-idea-challenge.
- Student teams after competing in the Youth Idea Challenge pitch night
- C-Ball team (first place winners) Jasmine Spittel and Kaytlin Sterba
- The Crossway (third place winner) Kaitlyn Wehner with mentor Steve Leaman, Horicon Bank