Young entrepreneurs from five middle schools in Indiana and Michigan will be coming to Culver Academies on April 23 to present their version of the next Big Idea.
What’s Your Big Idea? is a business plan competition for seventh and eighth graders designed after Culver’s Miclot Business Plan Competition, which is conducted over Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Participating schools included St. Richard’s Episcopal School, The Orchard School, and Sycamore School (all of Indianapolis), Kalamazoo Country Day School (Kalamazoo, Mich.), and The Stanley Clark School (South Bend, Ind.). Students presented their ideas on a business to launch, a product to produce, or a service to provide. If they have already started a business, they could offer ideas on how to expand it. The winners earned $500 and a chance to compete for a top prize of $1,000 at the finals.
The students can compete as individuals, partners, or in a team with no more than three members. Each team must select a mentor — an adult with actual business or entrepreneurial experience. Submissions from each school were reviewed by the Entrepreneurial Studies class at Culver which narrowed the field to seven finalists based on creativity, viability, and sustainability.
Prior to each school’s competition, the seven finalists received a copy of the judges’ evaluation form. Finalists had eight minutes to make their presentation and judges were given three minutes for questions. All the judges at each level are professional business people.
Each school’s winning team and the first runners-up advance to the final round in April. The teams may alter the format of their original presentation, but they cannot change the fundamental nature of their product or service.