WARREN - John F. Kennedy High School students were up for the challenge Wednesday as they pitched their ideas for new businesses to a panel of judges as part of the annual Business Startup Challenge competition.
This year's challenge, sponsored by Farmers National Bank, had 20 students on seven teams competing for cash prizes.
Teams had three minutes to present their ideas to a panel of judges and then answer five minutes of questions from the judges, who are members of the business community.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Bob Coupland
John F. Kennedy High School Upper Campus seniors Anthony Greco, Kathryn Safreed and Alaxandra Ozimek look over their notes before their three-minute presentation on their Wi-Fi Watch for tablets and computers as part of the annual Business Startup Challenge competition.
Anthony Iannucci, executive director of the Warren Redevelopment and Planning Corp., said the Warren Business Exchange hosted the event, which provided cash awards of $100 to $300. The competition is designed to promote creativity, invention and teamwork in developing viable business ideas, he said.
Ninth- to 12th-grade students in teams of two to five are scored based on their presentation of their idea and responses to questions.
''The content of this competition fits in perfectly with the content of what I am teaching in class,'' said J. Michael Gerstenberger, whose marketing class takes part as part of a class assignment.
Team members seniors Allison Mintus and Jenna Jewett were selling their idea of an indoor backyard ocean / beach area in the Bazetta-Cortland area, which is the center of Trumbull County.
''I was brainstroming an idea that we have water areas, but for several months of the year, it's cold outside and we can't go to the beach, so I thought why not create an indoor beach. It would attract families and bring in a lot of entertainment and give people something to do,'' Mintus said.
Jewett said in the winter there is a limit of where people can go.
''The ocean is one of my favorite places to be. This idea is really unique,'' she said.
The two said the judges asked a lot of valid questions about conservation and the environment about their idea for that area.
Seniors Greg Mulvey and Nick Averback and junior Eric Bofenkamp were on a team pitching their teenage dance club, telling the judges where they would locate it and how they would finance it.
Mulvey said the team competed last year placing third and knew in order to win they needed to have a solid executive summary and be prepared for the question and answer session.
''The experience we had last year helped us a lot this year,'' Mulvey said.
Juniors Steve Garland, Morgan Rice and Alex Leveto were pitching their idea of the Penguin Lodge, which would offer year-round indoor skiing which would provide job opportunities to local residents.
''I am a snowboarder myself so this seemed like a great idea,'' Leveto said. ''It would be like a ski lodge that would hopefully mean more people coming here and bringing business to the area and staying at hotels and supporting the local economy.''
Garland said he described the ramps and slides for the skiiers and snowboarders to help the judges visualize what they had in mind.
''This would be very unique and revolutionary to this area and create business opportunities,'' he said.
''This was a great learning experience in the business world that showed us what challenges we may face in the future,'' he said.