A well-known Hoosier college prep school is working with middle school students to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs. Culver Academies has named the finalists for its "What’s Your Big Idea?" business plan competition for seventh and eighth graders. Advancement Representative Harry Frick says engaging students he believes are "already innovative and entrepreneurial" will help Indiana build its pipeline of business leaders. Finalist ideas include a video game, dining app and a line of student-centered attire.
The finalists include students from The Orchard School and Sycamore School in Indianapolis and The Stanley Clark School in South Bend. They are competing for a $1,000 prize. The finals are set for Saturday morning on the Culver campus in Marshall County. The finalists will present their business plans to a panel made up of entrepreneurs. The other schools involved are St. Richard’s Episcopal in Indianapolis and Kalamazoo County Day School in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The finalists are:
Beautiful Designs, Healthy Minds-Hattie Eisenhauer— The Stanley Clark School
Fresh Meals Now-Alaina Hiemstra—KCDS
House Proud-John Drewno—The Stanley Clark School
Hues for Hope-Rhea Acharya—Sycamore School
Memory-Ajay Mahenthiran and Shaan Mishra—Sycamore School
My Style APP-Brooke Paganelli—The Orchard School
Survival of the Fittest—Jaidhirth Bollampally—KCDS
The Sign APP-Rachel Bates and Maddie McGloin— The Orchard School
Judges are: Mr. Mark Roesler—CMG Worldwide; and Mr. Greg Farrall—Farrall Wealth
Frick says the response from students in the five participating schools and the business community has been positive, and Culver hopes to grow the program next year. He says the school is looking to double or triple the number of schools involved and add events including an elevator pitch competition and opportunities for lunch with an entrepreneur.
Culver touts a big focus on entrepreneurship. Its Ron Rubin School For The Entrepreneur, endowed by Republic of Tea founder Ron Rubin, focuses on high school students. As part of the program, students run the campus coffee and tea shop without adult interference as a way to learn about management, marketing and finance.
Frick says Culver wants to grow the program next year.