How Are Northeast Ohio High School Students Learning to Pitch?
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How Are Northeast Ohio High School Students Learning to Pitch?

Cynthia Bailie
The Veale Foundation
Phone: (216) 255-3179
Email: cbailie@vealefound.org
30195 Chagrin Blvd., 310
Pepper Pike, OH 44124

Press Release

Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum and Baldwin Wallace University team up to teach high school entrepreneurs the art of crafting the perfect pitch.

Cleveland, November 1-2, 2016: Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum convened some 200 students and educators from nineteen Cleveland-area high schools over a two-day period for the third annual Veale Pitchfest. Pitchfest was held at the Center for Innovation and Growth on the campus of Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. Led by professors, students, and Cleveland-based entrepreneurs, participants spent time learning how to craft and perfect a 60-second elevator pitch. They also experienced what it takes to work as a team and collaborate with people you’ve just met, an exercise taken from the real world of work.

“Teenagers are fearless when it comes to many of the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. They have fantastic ideas,” said Cynthia Bailie, executive director, Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum. “Equipping them with the experience and skill for shaping those ideas into compelling pitches is incredible to watch, for us and for them!”

With the help of Baldwin Wallace LaunchNET director Michael Nock, students learned about the art of pitching. “Strong presentation skills and the ability to sell yourself to decision makers in a very short amount of time gives you an edge. Several hundred Northeast Ohio high school students now have that edge.”

Veale Pitchfest culminated into a problem-solving session with inspiration taken right from the campus of Baldwin Wallace University. Students were tasked with finding a solution to the challenge, what is the next great dining option at Baldwin Wallace University?

Winning pitches were presented by:

  • Claire Rubadue from Laurel School, representing her team, The Powerful Seven. Their idea? A gluten-free café and application-powered takeout service for students on the go.
  • Halle Small from Beaumont School, representing her team The Notorious Seven. Their idea? Vending machines in each dormitory offering frozen foods for students too busy to get to the dining halls.
  • Brigid Naughton from Magnificat High School, representing her team the Hardworking Harambes, was awarded an honorable mention. Their idea? A “mix” menu offering a diverse array of ethnic food, modeled after the Westside Market.
  • “I had the opportunity to become a pitcher, which I’ve never tried before,” said Meimei Cao, who is a junior at Gilmour Academy. “As an international student, my team was extremely encouraging, allowing me to develop crucial skills.” Ms. Cao was awarded the honor of “Best Opener” for her teams’s idea to invite chefs from some of Cleveland’s best restaurants to cook in existing Baldwin Wallace dining halls. Myles Campbell from Benedictine High School was honored as the “Best Closer” and was the only competitor to end his pitch with a call to action, “When can we meet?”

    Judges included Dewaine Billingsley, junior at Horizon Science Academy High School, an E CITY school, who delivered the winning pitch at Veale Pitchfest 2015. Asked to offer advice to all the students, Dewaine Billingsley said, “I’ve learned through experience in startup competitions that it doesn’t pay to be lazy. If you have an idea, take the next step to make it happen. Learning to pitch is one of the first steps. You can and should take it further.”


    Baldwin Wallace LaunchNET
    Open to students of every major, LaunchNET is an innovative program that presents entrepreneurship as a viable career path and offers students concrete tools and guidance to transform ideas into thriving businesses.

    Baldwin Wallace Center for Innovation and Growth (CIG)
    The Center for Innovation & Growth prepares tomorrow’s leaders to change their world as students learn – and practice – skills in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

    Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum
    The Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum, funded by The Veale Foundation, is a growing network of high schools in Northeast Ohio that equips students with an entrepreneurial mindset and essential skills through exceptional education and real-world experiences in entrepreneurship.

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