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Campbellsport Team Wins First Place in 2017 IGNITE! Youth Idea Challenge

FOND DU LAC - Eight area high school teams pitched their big ideas to a panel of five judges or “sharks” plus an audience of 100 supporters at the Second Annual IGNITE! Youth Idea Challenge on March 8.

Engaging high school students is a focus strategy of IGNITE! Business Success, the network of 18 local organizations supporting area entrepreneurs. Job and wealth creation relies on new business startups and scaling up innovative existing business. Identifying and unlocking entrepreneurial potential among youth is vitally important as they are our future economic drivers.

Each team worked with a business mentor to refine their idea, submit a mini business plan and prepare for the “pitch” event. Judges evaluated each team’s pitch based not only how they presented, but also how clearly they described the problem and their solution, value proposition, target market, marketing, how they would make money and key metrics.

Judges/sharks included:  Beth Kuehl, founder of the Great Plate; Mike Pelland, founder and CEO of Princeton Audio; Mark Lasky, CEO of Sadoff Iron & Metal Co.; Ryan Cropper, COO of Grande Cheese; and McKaela McFarlane, college student and previous owner of Red Wagon Popcorn.

"The student groups demonstrated creativity and passion for their business ideas. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this incredible event," McFarlane shared.

Scores from the written business plan portion of the competition were added to the scores of the pitch presentation for a total overall score for each team.  The top prizes included scholarship money to pursue their dreams plus other prizes. The first through third place winners include:

First place $2,000 scholarship winner:  Skratch Snacks - Campbellsport High School with a healthy gluten-free snack idea; mentors - Caitlin Stoll and Joel Fleischman, Drexel Building Supply.
Second place $1,000 scholarship winner:  Team Laconia/Buechels - Laconia High School with an interchangeable shoe bottom idea; mentor - Jeff Liddicoat, Horicon Bank Ripon.
Third place $500 scholarship winners (tie):  Iron Muscle Fitness & Big Guns Wrestling Club - Campbellsport High School with an affordable, family friendly gym concept; mentor - Ike Perron, Perron Trucking; and Fondy Business Team - Fond du Lac High School with a mobile outdoor theater concept; mentor - Steve Leaman, Horicon Bank Fond du Lac.

The Fondy Business Team won the Community Choice Award from the audience for the Most Creative Idea with Skratch Snacks winning the Community Choice Award for Best Presentation/Pitch.

“I work with business owners and entrepreneurs on a daily basis. This project was a unique way to instill entrepreneurship in our future leaders and business owners,” said Stephanie Waldschmidt, Campbellsport business education teacher. “We are excited about the partnership that our students are making with our local businesses.  It is amazing the amount of time and insight that business has invested into this project with our students.”


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