Business Plan Challenge announces finalists in High School Track

By the looks of the entries in the Business Plan Challenge High School Track, South Florida’s future economy is in very good hands.

Entries poured in from all three counties with ideas for mobile apps, education products, new restaurants, food creations and lots of fashions. Some of the students provided well-researched ideas, while others already have operating companies. Nearly all the entries had socially entrepreneurial twists.

We had 59 entries in all in the High School Track, which is co-sponsored by the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE South Florida), which provides entrepreneurship education programs in low-income schools. The judges admired the students’ creativity and passion for their concepts, which often catered to the teen market, but to stand out from the pack, the students needed to present a clear strategy for execution as well as an innovative idea in their business plans.

If there were an award for a school, though, it would have to go to Ransom Everglades, whose students accounted for almost half of the entries for a second year in a row and placed well in the finals. Students in teacher Jennifer Nero’s macroeconomics class alone submitted about 20 of the entries.

The top three winners will be profiled in the May 6 edition of Business Monday. The 2013 finalists are:

•  Do-Re-Mi A-B-C 1-2-3 Piano Book, by Veronica Chua and Hee-Young Kim of Ransom Everglades. This beginner level piano book, envisioned by students who have played instruments for years, uses creative musical instruction and story-based songs to help young children develop a strong foundation in math and reading, revolutionizing the traditional piano lesson book.

•  How Do I Look? by Kyle Lieberbaum, Blake Altman, Josh Kaplan and Jonathan Greenwald, of Miami Beach Senior High and Ransom Everglades. This app would provide a community for users to receive advice and critique outfits, and puts personal shopping in everyone’s pocket, resulting in a better looking and more self-confident world. The app would include a ratings system and opportunities for coupons.

•  iServe, by Jan Bergengruen and Jordi Lorido of Ransom Everglades. This app targeted at high school students would provide ways to help the community by informing students of nearby local opportunities where they could help out, as well as simplify the process of tracking and credibly confirming volunteer hours.

•  Life on the Line, by Juan Felipe Barragan and Isabella Zopo of St. Thomas Aquinas. This interactive RPG (role-playing game) app aims to help middle school and high school students understand the issues of violence, raising awareness in order to solve the problems and misuses of the weapons, while immersing players in the professions of the people who protect our community, such as police officers and firefighters.

•  SeniorLink Consulting, by Sam Steiner of St. Andrew’s School. This already operating company provides senior citizens with in-home computer installation and services as well as tutoring by high school students for a reasonable hourly fee. The Palm Beach County-based company has hired its first employees and plans more hires to expand its territory to other parts of South Florida.

•  Spider, by Jared Ertel and Ryan Schatz, of Ransom Everglades. The goal of this free website would be to organize all social media into one concise, neat format, organized based on the user’s interests. Revenue would be derived from advertising; 35 percent of profits would go to charitable organizations that are most actively supported on the site by the user base.

Read more Business Plan Challenge stories from the Miami Herald

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