Last Friday our charity, The IPOP Foundation (In Pursuit of Perfection) www.ipop.org held a business competition with the students of Alta High School. Students were challenged to submit an idea for a new mobile app. We had hundreds of students participate in the competition. They had the option to submit an idea alone or in a team of up to four people. We received around 100 app ideas to review. Each of the teams had to prepare to give a live pitch in front of the judging panel, because they wouldn’t find out until the day of the event if their idea was one of the 10 that would have to present. We wanted each of the students to have the opportunity to prepare a pitch for the learning experience of doing so, which is why we didn’t announce the top 10 teams until we actually in the assembly last Friday. The auditorium of Alta High School was filled with around 750 students who had come to either wait to pitch or to watch their fellow classmates do their pitch. The event was an amazing experience, and it was a testament to the brilliance of our young people today. Each one of the apps submitted was truly creative and original. Trying to get down to the top 10 was incredibly difficult because so many of the ideas deserved to be in the top of the list. We had a great team of celebrity judges at the event to help pick the first, second and third place teams out of the ten that presented live at the assembly. Each of the judges was angel investors and successful entrepreneurs themselves. We called the live assembly the “Hawk Tank” in honor of the Alta Hawks and in the fashion of the TV Show Shark Tank.
We started the event with a video compilation showing young people achieving amazing things in the business world. We really wanted these students to see that you are never too young to make a difference in the world!
Next our emcee read out the teams, one at a time, and the students would come to the stage and do a three minute pitch to the judges and the student audience of their mobile app idea. Then after all ten teams presented we had a special appearance by the Utah Jazz ½ Bear and the Jazz Dancers, who came on stage to throw out free swag to the kids and to dance and hype the audience while the judges deliberated on the scholarship winners. While the Jazz Bear was dancing the principal of Alta High came out and stopped the bear from doing the Gangnam Style dance and instead he led the entire auditorium in the Harlem Shake! It was AWESOME! The students loved seeing their principal come out of his shell like that and relate to them in a way that none of them had expected. His “street cred” with those students went way up!!! I love that he was willing to put himself out there like that. Fidel is a great leader and the kids at Alta are lucky to have him as their principal.
After the fun dance off the judges awarded the first, second, and third place winners with scholarships to any college of their choosing. Then we awarded an audience favorite additional scholarship (selected by the students themselves by texting in their vote for their favorites).
The best part of the entire event was the energy and excitement from the students. They were so excited to participate in the competition and the assembly and a number of students came to talk to us afterwards to let us know that they want to participate in the business plan competitions next year as well. That is what let us know that the event was a success. Our entire goal is to encourage these young people to set goals for themselves and not hold back, because they can do anything they set their minds to.
We were blessed to have amazing sponsors provide swag and incredible judges and volunteers who helped with the event. Thank you so much to all who were involved. We were also blessed to have the news reporters and press attend the event. Coverage of the event was carried on the local news stations as well as the written press stories which can be found at:
I LOVED seeing the strength of our young people. I honestly believe that our young people today have the greatest potential of any generation that has ever come before. They are so gifted and talented and intelligent and all they really need is some encouragement, direction, and people to believe in them. I can honestly say that these students exceeded my expectations last week and I cannot wait to hold more of these events in the fall when they are back in school again. The smartest thing we adults can do is to invest in educating and encouraging our youth. They are going to change the world!
Have a great week!