Square1 Announces Winners of 2020 NEXT High School Pitch contest.

This year’s program saw more than 30 schools and 600 students participate in Greater Cincinnati’s region-wide innovation and work skills development program.

Contest successfully moved online due to COVID-19.

Winner’s included students from 2 first-year participants in Finneytown and Holy Cross High Schools.

Square1 is seeking schools for the 2020-21 year with more program enhancements and opportunities to benefit the students.

Square1’s high school program saw its best, most impactful year yet with significant growth in schools and the number of students served. Starting the year as Startup Scholars, the program had participating students rebrand the curriculum to NEXT. The rebrand was needed as the Startup Scholar name no longer represents the core benefits of the program.

“Startup Scholars was strictly an entrepreneurship program at the beginning,” explains Square1 President Keith Schneider. “We saw a significant need to grow our next generation of entrepreneurs, and still do, however the tools and skills these kids were learning extend well beyond entrepreneurship.”

NEXT still dives into entrepreneurship and startups even going so far as to host an annual pitch contest. NEXT also supports student development from a career, social, and even emotional perspective. Basic business etiquette and work skills are included in the workshops and activities the students participate in. Additionally, they receive coaching and mentorship that helps shape ideas and fuel their career and academic interests. And through a variety of networking events, the students engage with each other and community leaders opening doors that many would not have access to if not for Square1.

The events blend students from a variety of schools around Greater Cincinnati melding a range of socioeconomic backgrounds from inner city to parochial to technical schools. This year’s pitch contest winners represent this diversity and include:

First Place – Heat It! A tech-enabled lunch box allowing for a better, healthier variety of meals on the go.

(Jason Hackman and Jonah Ikeda from Covington Catholic High School)

Second Place – Pirate Protection. A secure way to receive packages even when you are not home at the time of delivery.

(Grace Martin, Kara Krumpelman, Carter Wahl, and Gaven Steward from Holy Cross High School)

Third Place – Drippy Lips. A (revenue-generating) vegan cosmetic line that helps provide cosmetics for people who cannot use harsh chemicals in their cosmetics and who are multiethnic.

(Noemi Yisra’EL from Finneytown High School)

Aviatra Accelerators Female-Led Innovation Award – CampusDoc. An app to ease the burden of health information management for college students.

(Kate Joyce, Briana Seibert, Isabelle Bailey, and Phoebe Boyle from Notre Dame Academy)

Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award – D’Straw. A patent-pending straw that discreetly detects drugs in beverages.

(Maddie Whaley and Hollie Lane from Holmes High School)

Innovation Award – Priceless Protection. A school security and emergency management products company.

Paterno, Rhett Schneider, and Joe Stegman from Covington Catholic High School)

These teams persisted as the contest was moved online due to COVID-19. More than $4,000 was awarded through the NEXT program thanks to the generous sponsors of Square1 including St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Orchestrate Technologies, MCF Advisors, US Bank, Northern Kentucky University, and Taft Law.