Students “aspire” to be entrepreneurs in local competition

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Students “aspire” to be entrepreneurs in local competition

Credit: Gabrialla Cockerell / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Gabrialla Cockerell / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Gabrialla Cockerell / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Gabrialla Cockerell / The Foothill Dragon Press

Ryan Moore

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Lightsabers, cancer treatments and students in suits are an odd combination to be found in most places, with the exception of New Venture Challenge hosted by Aspire 3 at the Crowne Plaza.

The Aspire 3 competition was a single event in a larger program. Foothill students in D-tech and the Bioscience Academy were walked through the process of developing a product and taking it to market. Foothill students then competed against each other in a smaller settings, such as their classrooms. The top groups proceeded to participate in this one-day event.

The Aspire 3 program is designed to teach students entrepreneurial skills that will be of value to them once they join the workforce. Aspire 3 CEO Sean Bhardwaj believes “that most students won’t stay in the same job for even three years . . .that means that they don’t need to just be prepared from high school or college for that first job but for the next job and the next job and the ten jobs they’re going to have in their lifetime.” Bhardwaj believes all of these future jobs will require entrepreneurial skills.

The competition came in two parts. The first was an entrepreneur expo where all the groups that entered the competition set up a booth so judges could discuss their product with them. Entries were organized into eight groups based on a specific color, while judges traveling from booth to booth rated their performance. At the conclusion of the first session, the winning group of each color continued to the second session.

After the first session, a lunch break was provided, giving time for the tabulation and announcement of the top eight. Of the eight that advanced to the second session were two from Foothill: PASA Sciences consisting of Anna Lapteva ’19, Sowon Lee ’19, Abbey Bufford ’19 and Pearl Esparza ’19, and 3 Sheets made up of Sasha Clark ’19, Jake Ayers ’19 and Ryan Aranda ’19.

The groups of the second session gave business pitches and market plans of their product to a panel of investors. Following each pitch was a brief period where the investors had the opportunity to ask the groups questions.

 

 

Once the questioning period ended the investors were given time to score the pitch. When all eight groups had finished their pitches, the scores were calculated and awards and cash prizes were given to the top three teams and a group selected by the audience.

Winning first place and a cash prize of $2500 was Bee’s Sneeze, a team from De Anza Middle School whose product was gum that helps alleviate allergies. The team found the entire experience to be very rewarding. Member Avery Kightlinger experienced “a lot of frustration, but in the end, we thrived and we were able to put our hard work into something we love.”

 

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Coming in second place and receiving $1750 in prize money was Water Shift, a team dedicated to eliminating water waste while showering.

Foothill’s PASA Sciences won third places and $1000. PASA Sciences’s product was more theoretical: a machine that used resonance to target and destroy tumors in the body while preserving the healthy cells.

The People’s Choice award, along with $300 in cash went to Safety Straw, a team whose product was straws that could detect date rape drugs and the alcohol contents of a drink. Allison Stehle of Safety Straws was amazed that her team won an award. “I can’t believe we got to this point in this competition, and it’s just very amazing that we would’ve ever made it this far,” she said.

 

Editor’s Note: Anna Lapteva is the News Editor of the Foothill Dragon Press. She was not involved in the production of this article.

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