Students from nine Midwest high schools will be coming to Culver Academies to compete for the top prize of $25,000 Tuesday and Wednesday at the third annual business idea competition, The Next Launch.
The Next Launch is hosted by The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur at Culver Academies. Teams from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio will be competing for a top prize of $25,000. First runner-up will receive $10,000 and second runner-up will receive $5,000.
The student teams must present business ideas that include a description of a product, company, or service and its market need. It may be either “for-profit” or “not-for-profit” and may be new to the market or recently established.
This is the first year the competition is being conducted at Culver. The first two competitions were held in Fishers, Ind.
“We’re thrilled to host The Next Launch for the third year,” said Alex Kurrelmeier, director of The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur. “The past two years we’ve seen incredible ideas from high school students, including a mobile application that would use an avatar to assist students with speech impediments, a feminine hygiene product that would cut waste and benefit lower-income women, and more. This level of competition provides students with real-world experience in teamwork, collaboration and research typically only found at the university level.”
Culver will have three teams involved. All three were selected through the Miclot Business Competition in March. Slide, a case with three interchangeable batteries for cell phones won the $5,000 first prize. It was submitted by Luis Franco ’22 (Culiacan Rosales, Mexico), Beau Barich ’22 (Fishers, Ind.), and Xinrui Shi ’22 (Palo Alto, Calif.) The $1,000 first runner-up was Smart Sensor, a pill dispenser concept designed by Ava Dauer ’20 (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Annalisse Zuniga ’20 (Laredo, Texas). The second runner-up and $500 prize winner is Jacob Page ’20 (Granger, Ind.) with a Remote Renewable Automobile Charging Station.
Other schools participating are:
- Cathedral High School (Indianapolis)
- Noblesville High School (Noblesville, Ind.)
- International School of Indiana (Indianapolis)
- Startup Moxie Charter School (South Bend, Ind.)
- New Trier High School (Winnetka, Ill.)
- Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (Aurora, Ill.)
- Huron High School (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
- Western Reserve Academy (Hudson, Ohio)
Preliminary rounds will see all the teams do a five-minute pitch and finalists will do a 10-minute pitch. Entrepreneurship and business professors from Indiana University, Butler University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame, University of Illinois and professional business leaders will serve as the judges for the competition.
George “Monk” Foreman III, a 2001 Culver graduate, will be the keynote speaker for the students on April 23 as the competition kicks off. Foreman is an entrepreneur, boxing trainer/coach, and son of the legendary businessman and former two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman Sr.
Sponsors include the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois, Marian University’s Byrum School of Business, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, OneZone, the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, The Idea Center at the University of Notre Dame, the Lacy School of Business at Butler University, and incubator Launch Fishers.