In an effort to encourage and inspire the entrepreneurial mindset from a young age, Marietta College hosted a special session of PioPitch on Thursday, April 19th to give local high-school students an opportunity to present ideas and receive real-time feedback. Six teams of students pitched their innovative ideas for new products or services for a chance to earn nearly $4,500 in cash and prizes.
“Last year we piloted the program by inviting several Marietta High School students and a couple of Ely Chapman students to pitch their business ideas in a special session of the PioPitch program,” said Dr. Jacqueline Khorassani, Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at the College. “That is when we discovered that many students had great ideas. This year, we decided to expand the program by inviting high school students from across the Mid-Ohio Valley to compete for cash awards and free college courses.”
Products pitched included the “Snap-N’Go,” a tight-sealing lid to prevent accidental spills from water bottles, “Snack-Ease,” an improved chip can design, and “Check It,” an app to help students focus on schoolwork and chores.
A panel of judges, including Faith Knutsen, Director of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ohio University, Tres Ross, Executive Director of The Ross Foundation, Mark Wiehl, Process Improvement Manager at Peoples Bank, and Sarah Arnold, Communications and Program Services Director at the Marietta Community Foundation, asked questions and provided feedback for each project.
“I was impressed to see that the students put a great deal of thought into how their products or services would benefit others and add value to someone’s life,” said Arnold. “An idea is only as good as the benefits it provides the consumer or user.”
Issabella Sams, a freshman, took home first prize, with her project “It’s Dinner Time,” a food truck service that would serve lower income families and single parents who might be too busy to prepare meals at home. “This will be similar to the Meals on Wheels program for senior citizens,” she explained, “but geared towards families that have children that don’t always have a healthy meal to eat at home.” Sams won $200 in cash, as well as three free 3-credit hour classes at Marietta College.
Cameron Patterson came in second place for his design for a more efficient rain water collection system. Patterson impressed the judges with his technical design and market research. In third place was “Snap-N-Go,” presented by Hannah Adams and Jared Hollister.
The Foundation’s support of this program is made possible through unrestricted funds at the Marietta Community Foundation. The Marietta Community Foundation is proud to partner with Marietta College to encourage our next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.