In December 2009 and January 2010, teams of Traveling Experts – LCC faculty, Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) staff, and local entrepreneurs – went to the students, visiting schools and career centers to talk about business plans, financial preparations, and marketing and to judge pitches. In January, students and their teachers came to LCC for the 2010 Pitches & Panel event. Teams of students and individuals provided business plans ahead of time and then pitched their businesses to three judges. Following the pitches, a panel of three local entrepreneurs talked about their experiences beginning businesses and keeping them going. None of the students pitched for the cash award. Before the end of the 2010 school year, 7 seniors who indicated an interest in pitching for money, donated by the Coleman Foundation, will be invited back. Students who win the seed money will also have to graduate from high school with a 2.0 or better overall GPA, complete an Entrepreneurial Studies course the summer or fall semester after graduating from high school with a 2.0 or better, join the American Marketing Association or other student business club, and work with the SBTDC for one year after launching the business.
Our next step is to choose a date for the next pitch; it will probably be some time in May. We will work with the high school teachers to select a date.