Ten high school entrepreneurs committed to launching their own start up or receiving support for fledgling businesses will virtually compete as finalists in Seton Hall University's seventh annual High School Pirates Pitch competition, hosted by the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Stillman School of Business from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday, November 19. To attend the Microsoft Teams event, click here.
These future business leaders have successfully submitted original business proposals describing an innovative product or service in 350 words or less. The students next face off in a "Shark Tank" style competition, after passing their first hurdle against young entrepreneurs from 17 U.S. states and 10 foreign countries to qualify for more than $50,000 in prizes and tuition scholarships to the University. They will convey their startup ideas in five-minute presentations to an independent judging panel of faculty members and successful alumni. The University community and the public are invited to watch these pitches and cheer for their favorite contestant in this live-streamed event, which will include a five-minute Q&A session and all will receive valuable feedback from the judges.
"Their projects are wide-ranging, including ventures in stock market investing, mental health wellness, online study guides, and in-flight exercises. Some of the students have focused their efforts in ‘social entrepreneurship,' employing entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to help their communities and change the world. One student aims to foster cultural diversity by publishing bilingual children's books and another is focusing on an app to help people with disabilities purchase custom-fitted clothing. Several of the students have already launched their businesses and are operating ventures," said Susan Scherreik, founding director of the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Stillman School of Business.
"Entrepreneurial education is more important than ever before and we celebrate the talent, innovation and creativity of these ten finalists. These projects demonstrate a can-do entrepreneurial spirit that we need now more than ever to solve the numerous challenges our world faces and that are especially valued in today's business climate," Scherreik added.
Scherreik explained that some students have been developing their startup projects in their high school entrepreneurship courses, as entrepreneurship is increasingly becoming a popular business offering in high school as well as in the university curriculum.
"All students who are participating receive crucial business lessons on how to be nimble and flexible and I am impressed by their confidence and passion in this process," she said.
The final competition takes place in November celebrating National Entrepreneurship Month in the United States and entrepreneurs who serve their communities and bolster the American economy.
All qualifying finalists will receive at least $4,000 in tuition scholarships to attend Seton Hall. The top finalist will receive a $2,500 cash award and a $10,000 tuition scholarship. The second-place winner will receive a $1,000 cash award and a $6,000 scholarship. The Audience Choice Award winner will receive $300.
This year's finalists include:
- Dylan Fetterman, a sophomore at North Broward Preparatory School from Parkland, Fla. - Startup Idea: Inflight Fitness Program
- Allison Galiene, a senior at Lake Forest High School from Lake Bluff, Il. - Startup Idea: Brush Bestie
- Aryan Gupta, a junior at John P. Stevens High School from Edison, N.J. - Startup Idea: Eggsplain
- Arjun Jayaswal, a junior at West Windsor-Plainsboro, High School North from West Windsor, N.J. - Startup Idea: Scantron
- Pooja Kedia, a junior at Hillsborough High School from Hillsborough, N.J. - Startup Idea: The Trackerex Anxiety Tracking Watch
- Garik Kazanjian, a junior at Park Ridge High School from Park Ridge, N.J. - Startup Idea: Companion Trade
- Fatou Yeli Kourouma, a junior at THINK Global School (New York City) from Teaneck, N.J. - Startup Idea: Seventh
- Trevor Morrell, a junior at Elmira High School from Elmira, N.Y. - Startup Idea: The Translator Earbuds
- Daniela Palacios, a junior at Science Park High School from Newark, N.J. - Startup Idea: Para KIDS!
- Danielle Stanchak, a junior at Pascack Valley High School from Hillsdale, NJ. - Startup Idea: Danielle's Doggie Delights
The prominent judging panel includes Stillman business faculty and alumni entrepreneurs: Elizabeth McCrea, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship; Christine Fowler-Phillips '90/M.P.A. '99, entrepreneurship and management expert, specializing in corporate and personal branding as well as diversity and inclusion and the CEO/founder of Discover Your Best Self LLC; and Sunny Bathla '00/MBA '15, senior vice-president, Virtusa, and founder, OSB Co. Also on the judging panel is Alissa Lopez, M.B.A. '19, founder and CEO of the Family Balance Planner, and first-place winner in the Seton Hall collegiate Pirates Pitch competition.
Seton Hall's High School Pirates Pitch helps develop and showcase entrepreneurial skills that align with the World Economic Forum's list of the top skills that professionals need to thrive in 2021, including complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence. The competition also introduces students to the Stillman School of Business, its Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and its nationally-ranked Center for Leadership Development within the Buccino Leadership Institute.