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NKY High School Students Win Honors at Business Pitch Competition

Northern Kentucky students won honors at Square1's "NEXT" program and pitch contest, which was previously known as Startup Scholars.

“Startup Scholars was strictly an entrepreneurship program at the beginning,” said Square1 President Keith Schneider. “We saw a significant need to grow our next generation of entrepreneurs, and still do, however the tools and skills these kids were learning extend well beyond entrepreneurship.” 

NEXT still dives into entrepreneurship and startups even going so far as to host an annual pitch contest. NEXT also supports student development from a career, social, and even emotional perspective. Basic business etiquette and work skills are included in the workshops and activities the students participate in. Additionally, they receive coaching and mentorship that helps shape ideas and fuel their career and academic interests.

The events blend students from a variety of schools around Greater Cincinnati melding a range of socioeconomic backgrounds from inner city to parochial to technical schools. This year’s pitch contest winners represent this diversity and include:

First Place – Heat It! A tech-enabled lunch box allowing for a better, healthier variety of meals on the go. (Jason Hackman and Jonah Ikeda from Covington Catholic High School)

Second Place – Pirate Protection. A secure way to receive packages even when you are not home at the time of delivery. (Grace Martin, Kara Krumpelman, Carter Wahl, and Gaven Steward from Holy Cross High School)

Third Place – Drippy Lips. A (revenue generating) vegan cosmetic line that helps provide cosmetics for people who cannot use harsh chemicals in their cosmetics and who are multiethnic. (Noemi Yisra'EL from Finneytown (Ohio) High School)

Aviatra Accelerators Female-Led Innovation Award – CampusDoc. An app to ease the burden of health information management for college students. (Kate Joyce, Briana Seibert, Isabelle Bailey, and Phoebe Boyle from Notre Dame Academy)

Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award – D’Straw. A patent-pending straw that discreetly detects drugs in beverages. (Maddie Whaley and Hollie Lane from Holmes High School)

Innovation Award - Priceless Protection. A school security and emergency management products company. (Dominic Paterno, Rhett Schneider, and Joe Stegman from Covington Catholic High School) 

These teams persisted as the contest was moved online due to COVID-19.

-Staff report

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