On Friday, February 9, 49 students from local schools joined MCEE at Wells Fargo in downtown Minneapolis for the first annual Fostering Future Entrepreneurs Trade Show! Student teams pitched their startup ventures to volunteer judges from Wells Fargo, Deluxe Corporation, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Land O'Lakes, the Minnesota Bankers Association, Piper Jaffray & Co., the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, Merrill Lynch, and other local businesses.
The day began with a panel of local entrepreneur and business experts, including Allan Pavek, SBA Development Officer at Wells Fargo, Erik Brust, founder of JonnyPops, and Meghan Sharkus, University of St. Thomas student and founder of ExpressionMed. Panelists shared their experience and lessons learned and spoke about why nurturing the entrepreneurial mindset is important for high school students.
During the afternoon, student teams of 4-6 shared their startups with judges and teachers during the hour-long trade show. Students came prepared, with business cards, prototypes, and websites. Projects included everything from environmentally friendly plastic bags, to a search and rescue drone, to an app that notifies you when your food has expired. Winning teams received cash prizes in two divisions: People's Choice and Entrepreneur Awards. Winning teams were from Mounds View High School, 1st Place Entrepreneur Award, and Blaine High School, 2nd Place Entrepreneur Award, and 1st and 2nd Place People's Choice awards.
If you're interested in your students participating in next year's Trade Show, stay tuned for information about our summer professional development course Fostering Future Entrepreneurs: A sprint for teachers in design-thinking offered this July!
This year's program was generously supported by Wells Fargo, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, and Deluxe Corporation.