Square1 Startup Pitch Contest Open to ALL Area High School Students

Square1, where ideas start and grow, is excited to announce that the 4th Annual NEXT High School Pitch Competition will be open to ALL area high school students, not just those enrolled in the NEXT program. Members of the community and businesses are invited to witness the region’s top high school innovators pitch their ideas virtually this year on April 27<sup>th</sup> at 11:30 am.

The event will also feature two keynote speakers of national acclaim. Neal Hoffman, an entrepreneur and actual Shark Tanker, will kick things off. Neal achieved funding from both Robert Herjavec and Lori Greiner to support his Mensch on a Bench startup. Not only does Neal continue to expand his company, but he also continues to work be an asset to Robert and Lori.

Our other keynote leads Xavier’s Williams College of Business as Dean. Tom Hayes has not only dedicated the last forty years of his life teaching at Xavier but was also a founding partner of a marketing consulting agency and has held several other leadership roles with the American Marketing Association along with being an author.

“COVID has made school more challenging and students have dealt with the disappointment of many cancelled events over the past year, so we decided to open the competition to all students this year,” says Square1 President Keith Schneider. “We want students to have something fun to participate in and get them excited about future opportunities.”

Individual students or teams can register or if teachers have a class or classes that are interested, Square1 can visit (virtually or in-person) to discuss the contest. Online curriculum and templates are also available.  Competition registration must be completed by March 15, 2021 at

The contest will start in late March with the finalist competing virtually the week of April 26th before contest judges consisting of local community and business leaders and entrepreneurs to be named at a later date. The first place team will be awarded a prize of no less than $1,000. Also available as a prize is a $1,500 scholarship to Northern Kentucky University. Square1 also has a number of partners in the regional startup scene that will allow winners to shadow and participate alongside entrepreneurs in their programs. These partners include SoCap, an NKU-based Accelerator, Aviatra Accelerators, a women-led businesses accelerator, and more.

Sponsorships and tickets for the event are available for purchase now at Join other supporters like MCF Advisors, Journey Steel, and Global Technology Transfer in lifting our NEXT generation of innovators!

Square1 is also seeking judges for the contest as well as mentors to work with teams to refine their ideas. If interested in supporting Square1 and these students, please reach out to Keith at

An overview of the NEXT program can be found here.