Two INCubatoredu teams were awarded $1,500 grants through the Frisco Education Foundation at the Inaugural Frisco ISD Business Incubator Pitch Night at Collin College. Students will use this grant money to continue the pursuit of their INCubatoredu startup idea in the ACCELeratoredu class where students will turn their ideas into a sustainable, functioning business.
The Frisco ISD Business Incubator is fueled by INCubatoredu curriculum in which students start with an idea that they develop and iterate into their own product or service startup. The class culminates Pitch Night with an attempt to gain investment funds in a final “Shark Tank” pitch event.
Local entrepreneurs and business experts served as volunteer coaches and mentors guiding student teams through the process of developing hypotheses about a business concept, testing those hypotheses and continually improving upon their product.
“These young students understand what is happening in the market as evidenced by their passion for what they’re doing,” said James Collins, Frisco ISD Business Incubator volunteer and retired senior vice president of McDonald’s. “They understand what people are interested in and looking for. They are approaching it in innovative ways.”
The students had the opportunity to understand the process of analyzing a business opportunity, preparing a business plan, determining the feasibility of an idea using research, and developing a plan to organize and promote the business and its products and services.
The Frisco ISD Business Incubator Pitch Night was a culmination of a year of hard work for these students and their teachers. Centennial, Heritage, Lone Star and Frisco high schools brought seven team finalists for the final pitch event. Their ideas ranged from specialty cosmetic lines to innovative bed sheets that could revolutionize health care.
Each team’s pitch included videos, consumer and market research, a minimum viable product, financial trends and a marketing plan. It was clear that these students were passionate about their projects and had the data to back up their pitch.
After each 10-minute pitch, the judges asked questions, provided opportunities for reflection and offered advice on everything from how to expand marketing to how to pivot the product.
“For their first serious pitch session, these students and their presentations were incredibly phenomenal. It was evident that their heart was in it,” said Michael Rondelli, University of North Texas associate vice president of innovation and commercialization.
After thoughtful, fast-paced deliberation between the judges weighing viability, the market and the pitch presentations, the judges narrowed the finalists down to two winners, Soap Head and CHIP.
Soap Head is the brainchild of Kendall Beaird, Phoebe Chalker, Janiah Moyd-Lyons, Taylor Oyler and Angie Quispe of Frisco High School. Soap Head is a customizable and pre-made shampoo/conditioner brand that creates products in the form of a compact and concentrated bar. Led by Frisco High School teacher Jamarcus Langston, the team wowed the crowd with their innovative approach to ensure women have access to haircare tailored to their specific needs.
Dylan Lam, Bradley Riches and Arshini Suresh of Lone Star High School devised a device locator equipped to keep the consumer connected to modern devices so that important, valuable items can be located efficiently with the aid of an app. CHIP was guided by teacher Jill Bell this school year and looks to make waves with the funding it received.
Margarita Geleske, the chief evangelist for Uncharted Learning, traveled from Illinois in support of the budding program in Frisco ISD and stressed the importance of community partners.
“Our program does not come alive without community volunteers,” Geleske said. “The density and variety of businesses in this area are incredible and there is so much potential in the Frisco area. I look forward to seeing the continued growth of the program and expanded opportunities for students.”
For program sponsorship and funding information, as well as Frisco ISD Business Incubator volunteer opportunities, please contact Allison Miller.