|
|
|
Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Local young entrepreneur enters final phases of competition

  • A local young entrepreneur will spend an exciting few days in New York City and he may come home with a prize as the top entrepreneur in the country.
    • email print
  • A local young entrepreneur will spend an exciting few days in New York City and he may come home with a prize as the top entrepreneur in the country.
    The competition is sponsored by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an organization which fosters business creativity with classes in local high schools across the country.
    Morrow was a member of the class last year and created a business plan for an enterprise called Believable, Inc. The purpose of the business is to use theater skills to teach public speaking, confidence and other life skills.
    He organized a summer production at the Depot Theater Company last summer and put 22 young actors on stage.
    Morrow's business plan was one of only 38 chosen nationwide to compete in NFTE's national challenge. Only one other Kansas student, Natalie Lash from Wichita, was chosen.
    Morrow and his dad will travel to New York City next week where the 38 students will present their plans in several rounds of judging, culminating in the final 8 making presentation at an evening event Thursday.
    "It's just like high school forensics," Morrow said during an interview at the Globe offices Friday.
    The competitors have been told that there are two prizes: one is the $25,000 cash prize and the other is success for life.
    Morrow cited a girl in a previous competition whose idea was cake on a stick. Starbucks heard about the idea, liked it, and bought her out for $1 million.
    If he wins, he'll sign a contract to be a spokesman for NFTE for a year, making appearances across the country on behalf of the organization's programs.
    Making the pitch
    Recognizing the value of teaching young entrepreneurs the skill of pitching their ideas in a concise presentation, E-Trade Bank sponsors another aspect of the competition.
    All 38 finalists are asked to create an elevator pitch — a summary of their idea that can be presented in less than 60 seconds — say, while you're riding up in an elevator with someone.
    The pitches are posted online and people are encouraged to watch the pitches and vote for their favorites.
    Online voting continues for over a month and the winner will be announced at the Thursday event.
    Morrow, who was not a Facebook member before the competition, joined for the express purpose of creating a network of friends who could vote for him in the competition.
    "I got shut down twice by Facebook because I was making too many friend requests," Morrow said.
    The plan worked, however, giving Morrow a solid lead in the first week of voting.
    Word spread quickly as the social network went into action.
    High school students, high school faculty, circles of friends kept up the daily voting and Morrow stayed in the number one spot almost throughout the voting period.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I dropped to second for about half a day — that was a disaster — but it energized people and after that I was only in second for two hours once and again for about half an hour," Morrow said.
    People from as far away as Singapore were voting for Morrow.
    "Kids I thought didn't even like me would see me in the hall and say 'Hey, I voted today.'"
    People around town called him "voting boy," and the cashier at Wal-Mart assured him she was voting daily.
    Late Thursday night, the site took down the page listing rankings, so for the last few days of voting no one will know who's in first. It's a way to create a little excitement ahead of the big announcement. But it makes Morrow nervous.
    "I just have to count on the people who have been voting to keep it up for these last few days," Morrow said.
    Morrow thinks of his chance at winning the competition as a Dodge City thing not his own personal effort.
    "So many people have helped get us to number one — it's one of the great things about growing up in a smaller town. It's an incredible feeling. I am so grateful to everyone and I just want to go and make you proud," he said.
    If he doesn't win?
    "I'm not coming back," he said.
    But that's unlikely. Morrow already has plans for another production next summer and 22 young actors have already called to sign up.
    Meanwhile, Morrow is spending this chilly Saturday morning taking his SATs.
    IF YOU VOTE
    Online voting continues through Oct. 9. You can vote once every 24 hours from as many E-mail accounts as you have, provided you are at least 13 years old.
    To see the pitches and vote, go to www.elevatorpitch2012.com.

      • calendar