Mark Zuckerburg was 19 when he started Facebook. 17 year old Nick D’Aloisio sold his app Summly to Yahoo! for $30 million in 2013. Brian Wong, at age 19, founded a gaming rewards program called Kiip which earned over $15.4 million in funding and a spot on the DOW Jones FASTech50.
These few examples go to show that when it comes to startups, age is no boundary. These tech-savvy teens have proved that in the 21st century the pups are perfectly capable of playing with the big dogs. Little did we know, Ohio is home to many teens who share the same vision.
At the beginning of the year, the BBC decided we would set out to spark interest and support for Ohio’s youth entrepreneurs. We decided to host the 1st annual Emerging Entrepreneur Competition to take place March 29th in the Ohio Union. We invited high school entrepreneurs from all over Ohio to pitch their products and ideas to a panel of judges for feedback, advice, and the chance to grab a $500 grand prize.
After each entry came in, we were more and more thrilled at how many high-schoolers wanted to come out to OSU and pitch their projects. Students with improved 3D printers, digital liquor control devices, and online live personal training platforms greatly exceeding our expectations. On paper these ideas seemed great, but once we saw the full presentations, we were blown away. Some of these students had spent years developing their products, establishing LLCs, patents pending, and working prototypes. Who knew there was so much talent and ingenuity right here in our own backyard?
Taking home the grand prize was Carson Fox from Saint Francis DeSales for his company Head Hoodies which produces stylish head protectors for lacrosse sticks. The 2nd place prize was given to Matthew Boles, creator of a microwaveable, totable oatmeal. In 3rd place, Sammie Sommerkamp who designed the WorkoutWonder, an easy, simple to use piece of equipment which helps strengthen and tone core muscles.
Overall, the judges and the BBC were more than impressed with the great ideas and products that were presented. At such a young age, these students sure were able to bring their wow-factor! Congratulations to all presenters. We are greatly looking forward to see what the future has in store for you.
We at the BBC would like to thank all judges, participants, and spectators for helping to make a very successful Emerging Entrepreneur Competition.
See you next year!
Judges for the Event: