Innovation and creativity took center stage Tuesday night at Kempsville High School as students pitched their business concepts in a “Shark Tank” style contest.
Pitch Night 2022, co-hosted by Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson, brought together multiple teams of “entrepreneurial-minded” students to pitch their ideas – ranging from a crowdfunding platform for musicians to all-natural sunscreen to portable chargers.
Five teams pitched their ideas to a panel of industry experts, including Governor Glenn Youngkin, who was previously Carlyle Group CEO. A total of three teams received a total of $20,000.
The students, enrolled in the high school’s Academy of Entrepreneurship and Business, began working on their ideas earlier in the school year, working with mentors to shape their concepts and figure out exactly how to bring them to life. They were ready to present their ideas to the panelists.
They broke down their ideas, cost of goods sold, identified their competition, adding some personality to their presentations with music, puns and demonstrations. The Wavlength team, which launched a crowdfunding platform that supports musicians, had the audience applauding at the start of their presentation with a song performed on keyboards by team member Mason Filo.
The teams also faced questions and comments from the panelists on profit margins, marketing and future plans.
Port Power, a team that came up with a portable charger for laptops, cell phones and other electronics, was asked about the charger’s bulky design and if there was a way to streamline it. Midway through the presentation, team member Kinzey Newsome announced that she had charged her phone during her team presentation and by then it had already been charged 30%.
Stepping onto the court, Filo said the event was a good way to bond regardless of the outcome.
“I think (Pitch Night) is going to give us a good connection with a few people,” he said. “But I also think that if we don’t get the money we’re asking for, it’s still going to be a good exposure.”
Wavlength, which aimed to “change the music industry,” did not receive the full $12,000 requested, but panelists appreciated the “very cool and original idea” of a crowdfunding platform to the musicians. The team received $5,000 to start.
The panelists awarded two other teams more than the amount originally requested, saying they thought the amounts requested were “a bit short”. The Refill team, which sells refillable candles and fragrances, received $5,000, although they requested $3,000 for equipment to reduce labor costs.
“There’s an entrepreneurial spirit in their DNA,” said Thompson, CEO of Gold Key/PHR, adding that anything adults can do to support that spirit will help students succeed.
Crowd favorite Beauty Perfection, an all-around hair care company, received $10,000 to help with marketing, website development and other costs associated with introducing their beauty tools. hair parting in stores. The idea came from one of the students on the team, Jada Watts, who set out to create a better product for ethnic stylists like her.
“It was really something that we think has tremendous potential,” Thompson said before handing over the check.
Once funding is secured, students will work over the summer to further develop their concepts and take their ideas “to the next level”, said Meghan Timlin, the school’s EBA coordinator.
Although not all teams received funding, Thompson said that wasn’t the end of it.
“If they’re real entrepreneurs, they’re not going to stop,” he said.
Funding was donated by Thompson.
Kelsey Kendall, firstname.lastname@example.org