Cale Morrow of Dodge City High School won the national 2012 NFTE Elevator Pitch Challenge, earning a $2,500 grant to help make his business idea a reality. Morrow was one of 38 students nationwide competing in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship competition, which included an elevator pitch challenge and a business plan competition in New York City. The elevator pitch challenge gives entrepreneurial high school and middle school students the opportunity to create a video pitching their business idea in less than 60 seconds.
Morrow created his business plan, Believable Inc., in his Youth Entrepreneurs class at DCHS. Youth Entrepreneurs is a non-profit organization teaching business and entrepreneurial skills to high school juniors and seniors in 30 high schools throughout Kansas and Missouri. YE students go beyond the standard textbook to hands-on learning, including writing their own business plans, presenting in competitions and participating in internships with local businesses.
Morrow's business, Believable Inc., is an acting camp for kids to help them gain confidence. "In class, we were told to research a worldwide problem that needed solving, and I found that 75 percent of people are afraid of public speaking," said Morrow. "I thought if I could find some way to sell confidence, people would be interested in it."
Along with Morrow, Youth Entrepreneurs student Natalie Lash of Wichita High School East also competed in the NFTE competition. Lash's business, Chimney Wix, creates fire starters made from recycled materials that scent the fireplace. Lash and Morrow traveled to New York City to compete against other young entrepreneurs Thursday.
"We are very proud of Cale and Natalie, and the hands-on experience they gained from participating in this national competition," said Kylie Stupka, executive director of Youth Entrepreneurs. "Just like Cale's business teaches children to become confident, many of our students have reported that their Youth Entrepreneurs class helps them gain confidence, along with learning business skills. The end goal of all of our hands-on learning initiatives is to create entrepreneurially minded students."