Congratulations to the South Gallia High School team who took second place at the Glockner Dare to Dream High School Pitch Competition last night! The team won $5,200. We will post the competition video and more information once it is release.

Original Post – March 16

A team of South Gallia High School students will compete at the Glockner Dare to Dream High School Pitch Competition after their business pitch presentation at the Ohio Regional Competition on March 1st at Shawnee State University landed them a spot.

A program of TechGROWTH Ohio and Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, the Glockner Dare to Dream Pitch Competition is a tri-state business pitch competition currently in its third year. Groups of students from the Tri-State area develop business ideas and present those ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win a portion of the prize money funded by area business sponsors. In the 2018 competition, over $30,000 in cash prizes will be distributed and the South Gallia team, who is the first Gallia County team to participate in the program, now has a chance at that prize money thanks to their advancement through the Ohio semi-finals.

The South Gallia High School team consists of Austin Stapleton, Allie Sweeney, Curtis Haner, Erin Evans and Riley Sanders, all seniors, under the mentorship of business teacher Bryan Morrow.

Presenting the business idea of a vegan/vegetarian food truck, the group created a brand, completed research on start-up and operating costs, created a PowerPoint and a one-page business pitch, then delivered that pitch to the judges.

See their presentation from the Ohio Regional Competition below:

Overall, the group said they learned multiple things from participating, including teamwork, the basics of business and creating a business and the health benefits of vegetarianism and veganism. They also did research on the needs of the area and determined a food truck was the best route to take the business, due to the numerous events that take place throughout the county, especially at the Gallipolis City Park. The type of food their business would serve was decided after the group identified the need for vegetarian and vegan options in the area.

Morrow, who is in his third-year teaching at the school, said he has already seen the benefit of students participating in the program. Along the way, the students have been introduced to a variety of topics, including the process of creating a business, different plans, funding, and marketing, to name only a few. They also have gained valuable presentation experience, as well as a real-world look at the work that goes into starting up a business.

“When we started breaking down the costs, to see their eyes light up at how much certain things cost, I feel like that was probably the biggest take away for them,” said Morrow. “They have a realistic idea of what it takes to start a business, what the startup costs are. They went through consumer surveys. They even did a taste testing. I think it sparked their interest in business.”

The contest, coupled with the business classes she has taken, did have an effect on Sanders, who changed her planned career path after high school. She is now planning to major in business.

As far as the importance of programs like the Pitch Competition, Evans said, had she not had the opportunity to participate in the program, going out and creating her own business would not have been something she would have considered.

According to Mike Thompson, executive in residence with TechGROWTH Ohio, associated with the LEDC, the overall goal of the program is to plant the seed of entrepreneurship as an opportunity in the minds of young adults. They offer cash prizes as an added incentive, which gets the students excited about the competition and motivates them to fully participate.

“Our mature business owners today know that the future of our economy in Gallia County or Lawrence County all depends on developing new businesses,” said Thompson.

The program not only instills the possibility of entrepreneurship in the minds of young adults, it also provides fresh ideas for business someone might pick up on and make a reality.

Either way, Thompson the creation of new business is a possibility, which is the ultimate goal.

As for the group of students, who Thompson described as a “top-flight team” capable of bringing back to Gallia more money than local sponsors put into the program, Morrow said having watched them grow from sophomores to seniors and now being in a position to accomplish something they can be proud of has been a rewarding experience.

“I’m happy for them,” said Morrow. “Hopefully they can use this information they’ve learned and take it with them on the next step as they head off to college.”

As part of Gallia County taking part, local businesses also stepped up to sponsor the competition. Local sponsors included: Red’s Truck Center, Courtside Bar & Grill, The Wiseman Agency, WesBanco, Ohio Valley Bank, Farmers Bank and the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce.

“The program doesn’t happen if you don’t have sponsors,” said Thompson. “The program works because of the business people that believe in the youth and believe in entrepreneurism itself.”

For more information about the Glockner Dare to Dream Pitch Competition, visit their website here.

The final competition will take place on March 20, 2018, at Shawnee State University in the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts beginning at 5:30 p.m.