Aurora, IL, April 6, 2019 – Two ideas for improving the functionality of eye glasses and a wristband alerting the deaf in emergencies wowed judges and grabbed cash prizes for the best business launch ideas at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy’s Annual Power Pitch Competition.
Power Pitch is an annual youth entrepreneurship competition run by the Center of Innovation & Inquiry at the Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy (IMSA). In January, over 106 middle and high school youth, as well as four elementary school youth formed 50 teams who developed a product, business or technology idea for launch into the world. After six weeks of model and pitch training, online mentoring and a video pitch submission, the top twenty teams were selected to compete on Saturday, April 6th.
“Having served as a judge for the past 4 years, I believe this year’s event was one of the best we’ve seen in terms of the quality of the projects and their feasibility for launch with further mentoring in place,” said Dr. Kelly Page, IMSA’s Chief Innovation Officer, and lead Power Pitch organizer. “We also saw some our youngest contestants, with two primary school students competing this year,” she added.
Eva Tuecke, Krisha Patel, Emily Shao and Xiaofan Li, a team of IMSA students, earned first place for Fision, a plastic lens product that enhances eye glass prescriptions.
Davaris Cheeks, Grace Eggers and Alexis Juarez, a team of West Aurora High School students, won second place for interchangeable customizable glass frames coined Funky Frames.
Granger Middle School students Ashvin Rajmohan and Jayant Kumar received third place for ShockBand, a versatile and slim wristband alert for the deaf.
The final pitch presentations were judged by a distinguished panel of business and education professionals, including Dr. Maria Azimova, BP America, Inc.
“The creativity and preparation of the students we saw were truly impressive, and in addition to their own hard work and effort, I am sure a big part of the credit is also due to the time and dedication on the part of their mentors, coaches and teachers,” said Azimova. “What a wonderful and exceptionally well organized opportunity IMSA provides for this to happen and to be showcased,” she added.
Azimova’s colleague, Jeffrey M. Zalc, also of BP America, was impressed with the creative solutions proposed to address significant sustainability issues.
“The students were so articulate, thoughtful, and engaging as they presented their work that they were clearly so passionate about,” he said. “The level of professionalism was amazing,” he added.
For more information about IMSA’s entrepreneurship programs, visit imsa.edu or e-mail Steve Goldblatt at firstname.lastname@example.org