This post was written by Bernae DySart, ninth grader at Montessori High School at University Circle. It originally appeared, here.
On September 25, 2015, seven Montessori High School at University Circle (MHS) students and I attended the High School Pitchfest at the Q Arena in downtown Cleveland. This event had about seven public schools and ten private schools in attendance within the competition.
The Pitchfest was designed to raise interest and to teach students how to impress someone with your great ideas in just 30 seconds. We started with multiple how-to’s for creating a good elevator pitch, and then a don’t as an example to help us visualize a great way to pitch our own ideas. We then separated into groups to pitch an idea that answered the question of: How can we enhance the experience for Cavs fans at home who couldn’t make it to the Q arena?
For me, I thought that this was an awesome experience and I learned a lot of new things from actual entrepreneurs and from one current entrepreneur, specifically, who found his passion in baking and cake decorating.
The Pitchfest was very helpful in the sense of learning how to convey a pitch that would actually make an influence on the investor’s mind, and make them curious about your business.
The advisors for many of the group were professionals from Bizdom, a company that helps small start ups. They were a great help when the ideas were refined for the actual presentation of group pitches. I learned a lot about the presentation of pitches and how pitches can actually help jumpstart your business.
The most notable piece of advice, for me, was give a good hook, then be quiet. Don’t say anything else because the interesting thing you just said could have them thinking about this all day. They may want to know more because they were interested in that single thing you said that described your company.
MHS students show off their awards at the end of Pitchfest. One student’s team came in first place, and another came in third.
The other Montessori High School at University Circle students who went to Pitchfest also had comments about their experience.
Jeremy: I learned that even if you’re in a group with a bunch of different people you can still work together and even do better than a group of people who are very alike.
Summer: I enjoyed meeting new people while creating an exciting and informative pitch. I learned how to make a short but well written pitch about a certain product. I also learned how to present a pitch in the best way.
Suzanne: I didn’t know how to write a successful and quick business pitch before this event. I really liked learning how to be smart in business and how to advance your ideas. Also, all of the staff members that ran and organized this event were very nice and helpful!
Maria: Participating in the Pitchfest was interesting because we were able to spend time with students of different schools and try to solve problems together. It was new to me, and it was really good to try to think of a solution for the Cavs even if I don’t know so much about them.
Wren: I learned so much about creating and doing an actual elevator pitch.
BJ: I thought that the Pitchfest was a great opportunity to learn something new about entrepreneurship and elevator pitches themselves.
MHS at University Circle incorporates entrepreneurial skills into curriculumStudent Spotlight posts are typically written by current MHS students and alumni students. This Spotlight post written by Bernae DySart. Bernae is a current ninth grader at Montessori High School at University Circle. She plays flute at the Music Settlement, and has participated in national programs such as Future Business Leaders of America. FBLA introduced Bernae to the idea of entrepreneurship. There, she presented and won competitions within the program. She felt that Pitchfest gave her another way of presenting similar information without relying on a PowerPoint or notecards. She is already looking forward to what the Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum will offer next year.