Christine and Elizabeth Hlavacka, both 10th graders at Aquinas High School in La Crosse, are the grand prize winners in Wisconsin YES!, a statewide youth business plan contest for students in middle and high school.
The Hlavacka’s website application, WeWork.Biz, more effectively matches youth with employers for jobs and volunteer related opportunities. This tool has resources and supports services for users and will allow employers to offer incentives and promotions to participating youth.
They will present their winning idea June 7 at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison during the awards luncheon for the Governor’s Business Plan Contest. For more information on the conference, visit www.witrepsconference.com.
In addition to taking steps to create a product from their business idea, they each received a certificate of entrepreneurship relating to their participation in the 2017 UWL Innovation Lab and are members of the National Honor Society and are Girl Scouts, presently working on the Gold Award. Christine is interested in studying marine biology or health science in college. Elizabeth is interested in studying veterinary/animal science and business in college.
Students submitted their ideas in a 250-word online summary to compete in Phase 1 of the contest. Professionals from across the state served as judges, provided feedback and scored the ideas. About two-dozen entries were selected to move on to Phase 2, where they submitted 1,000-word executive summaries covering company overview; product or service description; customer definition; market description, size and sales strategy; competition; management team; financials; and capital needs.
Second place was awarded to Rachel Krouse of Whitman Middle School for her entry Solar Hat, a hat that has disguised solar panels on the top that collect energy and are able to charge electronics. Zahra Jazayeri of Brookfield Academy was awarded third place with his entry Fareed’s Falafel, a traditional falafel restaurant that only uses completely vegan and organic ingredients.
Other participating finalists in the fifth annual contest, including the school and names of team members, were:
- BactiTrax (Whitman Middle School) Zoe Del Vecchio;
- CHONPS (Brookfield Academy) Yue Chen, Lena Ding, Ray Jiao and Arianna Reed;
- Evercase (Longfellow Middle School) Lilian Ladd and Kate Tarrence;
- Fareed’s Falafel (Brookfield Academy) May Coumbe, Zahra Jazayeri and Najuf Malik;
- Hydro-Filter (Whitman Middle School) Isabel Jensen;
- IKeyPad (Crivitz High School) Taylor Bemis and Annabelle Kosmecki;
- Interpreter (Longfellow Middle School) Micah Korb;
- Le Petit Delhi (Brookfield Academy) Mark Bechthold and Rohan Nangia;
- Lucidum Candle Company (Brookfield Academy): Isabelle Krantz, Abby Schlosser, Liese Wareham and Jeffrey Zhou;
- My Sports Equip (Crivitz High School) Shane Bauer and Ethan Pelkin;
- PAC Pen (Whitman Middle School) Anastazja Branski;
- Perfect Pocket Clothing (Wayland Academy) Alex Walker;
- Protein Poppers (Brookfield Academy) Jack Cahalane, Connor Guest, Ethan Kaas and Liam Matthews;
- Quick-Wash (Whitman Middle School) Alexander Graham;
- R Xessories (Middleton High School) Rohan Shah;
- Sand Towel (Whitman Middle School) Ethan Espinosa;
- Sightless Pen (Longfellow Middle School) Ella Birschbach;
- Solar Hat (Whitman Middle School) Rachel Krouse;
- Sozoderm (Longfellow Middle School) Greta Krueger;
- Spoky’s Bikes (West Salem High School) Ian Munger
- Talker (Longfellow Middle School) Micah Korb;
- VeganToYourDoor (West Salem High School) Ewa Wosz;
- biz (Aquinas High School) Elizabeth Hlavacka;
- Wind Clips (Whitman Middle School) Cooper Krause
The Wisconsin YES! contest is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council. Major support is provided by IBM, The Boldt Company, Intrepid Charitable Partners Inc., UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations, and the Wisconsin Technical College System.
Contest partners include E-seedling, Nasco, Colony Brands, Fiskars, the Department of Financial Institutions, Department of Public Instruction, the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, Make a Difference Wisconsin, Project Lead the Way Wisconsin, STEM Forward, Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers and Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials.
Modeled after the successful Governor’s Business Plan Contest, Wisconsin YES! is designed to teach students how innovation in science and technology fields can be developed into plausible business plans. It is an opportunity for students to explore the connections between science, technology and entrepreneurship, and for educators and judges to cultivate an interest in these arenas. Visit www.wisconsinyes.com to learn more.