Oldenburg Academy students in Jonathon Maple’s entrepreneurship class recently participated in the Maverick Challenge, a high school business planning competition. The academy is the only school in Ripley and Franklin counties enlisted in the contest, according to him.
Sponsored locally by the Ripley County Community Foundation’s Economic Opportunities through Education by 2015, Franklin County Community Foundation and Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, “it aims to further develop the innovative spirit of the region by reaching out to high school students, showing them viable career opportunities through entrepreneurship. Students must be a junior or senior and live in a participating county.” Teams are made up of one, two or three students, the teacher reveals.
“The students take their idea and develop it to a real concept and move it into a full business plan. They go through many different steps, including marketing, finances, management, industry, and learn the full scope of everything a business plan entails.
“They have the opportunity to have feedback given to them. Community business leaders (Tom Glaser, Toby Oesterling, Mary Ellen Rippe, Rita Seig and Marlene Wukusick) mentor the students .... They did a fantastic job. Students also have a Pitch-Panel Feedback Forum (Lynn Fledderman, Bob Koester and Ham Struewing), where they pitch their ideas to the forum and gain initial feedback. Students then finalize the business plan and then it is submitted to a panel of community judges.
“While the judges spend three days reviewing the business plan, students are preparing for their 20-minute presentation. It is very similar to ‘Shark Tank’ – They give a presentation of their businesses and go through any questions the judges may have.”
Winners were announced Dec. 16. Seniors Daniel Mullen and Taylor Reed placed first with News Mapp.
“It’s an iPhone app that allows users to create their own profile and get a personalized news feed ... with a user-friendly interface,” Reed points out.