Tri-State STEM+M High School Wins Inaugural Best Social Impact Idea at 2021 Glockner Dare to Dream Pitch Competition
Tri-State STEM+M student team and Assistant Director Shelby Davidson receive checks from Executive in Residence of TechGrowth Ohio Mike Thompson
The championship for the eighth annual Glockner Dare to Dream high school business competition was held on March 2, 2021, at Shawnee State’s Kricker Innovation Hub. Thirteen teams from Ohio and Kentucky (including Russel, Minford, Portsmouth, Green, and Tri-State STEM+M) pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges to compete for a total of $36,000 in prize money.
The Tri-State STEM+M team was comprised of three freshman students - Veronica Poynor, Anne Piaskowski, and Angel McCartney. They won the inaugural Best Social Impact Idea and finished 5th place overall in the competition, which totaled to nearly $4000 in prize money. Their business idea involved an app which made it easier for non-profit organizations to receive donations.
The final competition was held virtually where teams pre-recorded their pitches and then handled live questions from judges. About the experience, Poynor remarked, “Filming was a lot of fun and we learned so much about the pitch competition process through that and how to really tailor to our audience.” McCartney and Piaskowski enjoyed participating in the final competition with the other teams, “We loved being together and watching the other teams and their ideas. Super impressed with all of the other teams and their creativity with their businesses and how we can improve our business idea going forward.”
To prepare for the competition, they received coaching from the iCenter and Tri-State STEM+M Assistant Director Shelby Davidson. iCenter team members Collin Meadows and Ben Eng lead weekly coaching, while Tricia Ball, Kelly Leonard, and Brandon Dennison provided guidance and feedback. “The iCenter has coached many teams from Tri-State STEM+M in the Dare to Dream Competition over the last 3 years, but this is the first time we’ve ever coached freshmen. It was so much fun getting to know them. Their energy and intellectual curiosity towards learning entrepreneurship and innovation was inspiring and, clearly, the future is bright for them – not only for the next 3 years of the competition, but also for their careers,” said Eng.
On Tri-State STEM+M wining the inaugural Best Social Impact award, Eng said, “I’m really proud that they won that particular award. At the iCenter, we really believe that a critical key to reversing generational poverty in Appalachia is for our businesses and entrepreneurs to achieve a double bottom line – to leverage technology and other resources to innovate business ideas that not only drive big profits but also simultaneously solve big problems. These freshmen have the heart, mind, and work ethic to create this type of next generation business.”
Piaskowski concurred, “It has made me think I would like to start my own small business someday!”