Making Their Pitch: LFHS Students Procure Funds for Startups
By Rebecca Foster-Goodman
Lake Forest High School held its version of the popular television show Shark Tank when the seventh annual Pitch Night for its Business Incubator program took place May 20.
Hosted by the Lake Forest High School Foundation, the event featured four teams: Simply Rent, Soapy Sidekicks, Brush Bestie and Safety Band. Brush Bestie, a four-in-one makeup brush, was awarded the Foundation Cup and $4,000 in startup funding. Simply Rent, a localized rental service site, captured Best Pitch and $3,000 in startup funding. Soapy Sidekicks and Safety Band also received startup money.
Members of Brush Bestie enjoy their sizable check and winning trophy. Colin Martens, one of the founders of Brush Bestie, looks forward to developing it into a true business with his team. “We have all of the tools necessary to make this company a functioning business,” he said. “I am excited to see where we can take this.”
Noted LFHS Foundation President Suzanne Sands, whose group provides the money for the awards through donations, “These students are pursuing real business ideas. They get a taste of the what the business world looks like as well.” Pitch Night is the culmination of a year spent developing a business plan from infancy in the fall to a fully developed and viable business plan in the spring (11 teams originally were involved). It is part of the Business Incubator program, an honors-level class available to LFHS juniors. Introduced through a grant written by teacher Joe Pulio, this dynamic program gives juniors the opportunity to create and develop business ideas for products or services they feel are missing in the marketplace. Students are coached and mentored by local entrepreneurs and business experts, who give them real-time feedback.
Each team began its pitch May 20 with a video presentation of its idea, including financial projections, marketing plans and foreseeable obstacles. Team members then spent three-to-five minutes to address the judges and continue their pitch in person. They ended with a Q&A session with the judges. Each of the four teams will move on to the Business Accelerator Program next year to continue building their businesses.
Sands explained that the entire experience provides growth on many levels. “You see these students grow as thinkers, in their ability to communicate with their teams and as public speakers,” she said. “The opportunity for growth is the best thing about the program.”
This is one of a series of articles on Lake Forest High School that have occurred during the school year. The Pitch Night broadcast is available for viewing on the Lake Forest High School Foundation website.