Students from the Kent Career Tech center have been selected as the top three finalists in two different categories in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s World Series of Innovation. The competition, sponsored by Microsoft and other organizations, encourages innovation and creativity in youth.
The event offers eight different challenges students can choose from to base their concept on, from technology applications and business designs, to food and beverage solutions. Finalists have been chosen out of 700 students from around the world for an opportunity to win more than $10,000 in prizes for themselves and their school. Student teams each can win through a judge’s panel, and with online voting that runs through November 24th.
The Next Perfume Craze?
Josh Kunnen (Zion Christian High School) and Jayson Vandyken (Tri-County High School) entered the Replicable Business Idea Challenge with their all natural cologne business model. The goal was to create a business that could be easily started and will fulfill a need not being met by other products.
Kunnen and Vandyken explain that most personal fragrances contain unregulated and often harmful chemicals, and there is great demand, but a limited availability of natural cologne and perfume options. They have developed a business model for IsePure, a natural fragrance that young entrepreneurs can make and bottle at home and provide to retailers. The idea is simple: start with the all-natural base, boil it with the herbs and spices of your choosing, strain, mix, and voila… add a fancy bottle and sell it for top dollar.
The students found that 83% of women wear perfume and the industry has been steadily increasing each year. There is huge competition in the mainstream fragrance industry, but not many offer an all-natural solution. As society continues to get more health conscious, the demand for natural fragrances will follow suit, providing ample business for IsePure.
Tweet N’ Eat: Bringing Healthy Food to a Curb near You
Diana Vilic (East Kentwood High School), Keshav Mehan (Lake Michigan Academy) and Bobby Lynch (Rockford High School) entered the 40 Chances Nutritious Food Distribution Networks with their twist on food delivery “Tweet N’ Eat”. The service provides a food truck to events that will respond to tweets, or other social media prompts, from smartphones, with an order and location for delivery. Several farms and food providers would regularly supply a warehouse with fresh foods to load in each truck before heading to a school or function.
The goal of Tweet N’ Eat is to encourage healthier diets. Vilic, Mehan, and Lynch suggest that schools don’t provide enough healthy options, and many families struggle to pay the extra money it costs for higher quality foods. Providing a more direct transaction between the food suppliers and consumers will shave off extra cost. Food trucks like these exist around the country, but none are targeting kids and schools.
Plus it’s fun. Combining their expert use of social media with the interest many youth have in selecting what they eat, this team believes Tweet N’ Eat would become popular everywhere. When asked what they would do with the prize money, the students couldn’t help but smile.
“I would invest in my photography business”, said Vilic. Lynch wants “to start a college fund.”
“I need to pay back my parents”, admitted Mehan with a chuckle.
Putting it Together
The students involved are part of the Entrepreneurship and Marketing program at KCTC. Instructor Kirk Helferich was excited to have some of his students participate in the worldwide competition, let alone, make it to finals. Each group had to come up with their concept that fit into the Challenge criteria and film a 60 second advertisement for their idea.
Each of the Challenges, including the Replicable Business Idea Challenge, will have two winning teams, one from each People’s Choice and an Adjudicators’ Choice. The prize for this Business Challenge is $2000 split between the members of the group and $500 for their school.
The stakes are higher for the 40 Chances Challenge, where the winning teams from People’s Choice split $10,000 with $1,500 going to their school. The runner up team will win $1,000 to split and $1,000 for their school.
All of the finalists are guaranteed prizes including merchandise, an Amazon gift card, and $250 to split with their teammates. People’s Choice voting continues to November 24, with one vote allowed per challenge segment.