Utah high school students with viable business concepts competed as finalists in the state-wide High School Jumpstart Entrepreneurship Competition for WSU scholarships and cash awards on Feb. 8 at WSU Downtown.
Each year the High School Jumpstart Awards are open state-wide to high school students in grades 9 through 12 who have business ideas of any kind.
The annual competitions are completely ran by WSU students and hosted by student volunteers from the Hall Global Entrepreneurship Center. There were 81 high school entrepreneurs who applied this year by submitting an elevator pitch in a short video; students applied both in teams and individually.
“It’s tremendous, (the number of applicants) more than doubled this year,” Brandon Stoddard, director of Hall Global Entrepreneurship Center, said.
The five finalists pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges that are business leaders in Northern Utah. The judges deliberated after each of the presentations were given.
Business ideas ranged from clubs for high-school-aged kids to something called a “MonkeyBag,” a hammock alternative to a tent and sleeping bag. Judges asked questions and gave advice after each presentation.
First place was a $500 scholarship to WSU and a $1000 cash award. Second place was a $500 WSU scholarship and a $750 cash prize. Third place was a $500 scholarship and $650 cash prize.
The group that created Pump Sock won first place. Pump Sock is a Type 1 Diabetic pump holder that makes it easier and less costly for those with Type 1 Diabetes by protecting pumps against damage and allowing pumps to be worn with more comfort.
Second place went to MonkeyBag hammocks. Third place was given to Exhausted, an idea to reduce emissions with a user friendly, three step exhaust pipe attachment that serves as a cheap alternative to electric vehicles.
“We actually thought about this idea last year when we were doing a DECA project,” One of the team members of Pump Sock, said. “We started researching it and found that there’s really nothing else like it on the market. We started networking, and, actually, one of our judges at DECA was an ambassador at ‘The U,’ and we became her interns.”
Tanner Stephens, president of the Hall Global Entrepreneurship Center, who has spent time promoting this event, expressed that this business competition really puts the vision into the aspect of the students’ ideas. He expressed how easily it is for people who have great ideas to talk themselves out of actually following through with them.
“I believe that there is a big disconnect between what we do as students at WSU, and I would challenge the student body to be involved with all these alternative ways to enjoy the college experience,” Stephens said.