Ayla Mollen, Seninaturals

Ayla Mollen, a graduating senior at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua who will attend UW-Green Bay in the fall, is the first-place winner in Wisconsin YES!, a statewide youth business plan contest for students in middle and high school.

Ayla’s company, Seninaturals, is dog treat line that provides neurological health benefits to dogs. She is an aspiring veterinarian who has worked in kennels and clinics, is a National Honors Society student and has taken part in the UW-Madison’s Information Technology Academy for three years.

A recorded presentation of Ayla’s business plan was shared at the June 4 virtual Entrepreneurs’ Conference during the awards portion of the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

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. Nearly 20 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 Mishaal Omer, Charlotte Aexel, Joe Zhu and Akshay Saluja of Brookfield Academy for their entry, TeaPop, which are lollipops with a tea leaf center for adults.

Oliver, Wyatt and Noah Ehrhardt of Middleton High School were awarded third place with their entry, CoolSticks, a cooling stick that turns colors when food is cool enough to eat. The brothers also had a second entry in the finalist round.

The Wisconsin YES! contest is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council. Major support is provided by WEA Trust and, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement.

Contest partners have included the Department of Financial Institutions, Department of Public Instruction, the Association of Wisconsin School AdministratorsMake a Difference Wisconsin, Project Lead the Way WisconsinSTEM Forward, Wisconsin Association of School BoardsWisconsin 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 https://wisconsinyes.com/ to learn more.

In alphabetical order by submission name, finalists in the eighth annual contest were:

Submission Name School Name Name
Bio-Buddies Longfellow Middle School Maggie Guran, Grace Williams
CoolSticks Middleton High School Oliver Ehrhardt, Wyatt Ehrhardt, Noah Ehrhardt
Eco Earrings Brookfield Academy Molly Seeger, Mary Ratnayake, Morgan Allen, Suzanne Ackley
Envine Brookfield Academy Tennyson Matthews, Serena Suson, Ashley Zhu, Leo Astorga
Flippin Tires Brookfield Academy Peter Mueller
H2-Brew Longfellow Middle School Ellasyn Korb
Hygge Bear Longfellow Middle School Emerson LaWall-Shane
Infinite Pen Longfellow Middle School Nathan Gendrich
Playful Pets Brookfield Academy Allison Courtright
Seninaturals Lakeland Union High School, Minocqua Ayla Mollen
TeaPop Brookfield Academy Mishaal Omer, Charlotte Aexel, Joe Zhu, Akshay Saluja
The Benchwarmer Neenah High School Michael Hasler
The Interactive Online School for the Blind (BIOS) Whitman Middle School Emily Scott
Trash Clean-up Rewards App Crivitz High School Eli Gruszynski, Brayden Marvin
Z Hire Middleton High School Noah Ehrhardt, Oliver Ehrhardt, Wyatt Ehrhardt