Wednesday, May 11 was "pitch night" for more than 40 John Hersey High School student entrepreneurs who took center stage at the library to compete in a Shark Tank-style showdown. In all, eight groups of students presented, each giving their best pitches for new businesses and start-up opportunities before a panel of five judges, including Mayor Tom Hayes, and an audience of more than 100 people.
Start-up ideas ranged from Campus View, a virtual college campus tour website, to Mass Meals, a subscription-based meal delivery service. Other ideas included an online gift buying service named Trendit and a resale service for homecoming and prom dresses called Dress Again.
In the end, the winning idea was GoFur, a business described as "the bridge that connects young and eager adults to local residents needing help with their errands." GoFur was created by student entrepreneurs Mitch Carlisle, Javin Maestro, David Fernquist, Spencer Krueger, Jake Kramarczyk and Carsen Anderson.
The presentations capped off nine months of hard work in an innovative class titled Entrepreneurship. Taught by Dan Vesper, a business education teacher at Hersey, the class combined a dynamic new curriculum from INCubatoredu with hands-on learning, guest presenters and mentoring by more than 35 area businesses and professionals.
"The kids were very prepared, composed, professional and so creative," says Shannon Distel, the library's Business and Specialty Services Manager who presented to the students earlier in the school year. "The whole idea was for the students to identify a problem and come up with a solution. It was impressive to see the results, and I could tell they had used some library resources."
GoFur moves on to compete in the District 214 Pitch Night to be held at Forest View Educational Center on Tuesday, May 17, 6:30 p.m. Student entrepreneurs from across the district will compete for top honors and a cash prize.