Center for Entrepreneurship Creates Global High School Experience

students195-nf6Honolulu high school students take part in the Chasing the Competition idea pitch.

Students from eight St. Louis high schools connected with students in Hawaii, Australia, India and Spain for the inaugural “Chasing the Sun” idea pitch event hosted by Saint Louis University’s Center for Entrepreneurship in November.

Honolulu high school students take part in the Chasing the Competition idea pitch. The event kicked off on a Friday afternoon, with each site logging on to a Fuse Box video conference.

The groups of students in each time zone were divided into three teams. They were presented with a problem in their school community and asked to develop an entrepreneurial solution — an idea for a sustainable business which still addressed the problem or community pain.

Every Team #1 was asked to develop a pitch for a product or service which created a more efficient high school student. Every Team #2 needed to create a more engaged school community. All Team #3s needed to create a safer school environment. Each team had to build their business based on what would work in their home community; not thinking about how the solution would fit on a global scale.

At set time periods, the groups pitched their ideas to the next time zone and received peer-to-peer feedback. For example, right after kick off, St. Louis teams worked on their project until 8 p.m., when they stopped and pitched their ideas to Honolulu. Team #1 in St. Louis to Team #1 in Honolulu and so on. The Hawaiian students provided feedback to the St. Louis teams about the strengths and weaknesses of their presentations. Next up, Honolulu teams had a few hours to modify their pitches before interacting with Perth, Australia. This process was repeated until finally Madrid had pitched to and received feedback from St. Louis.

The sites did not have to build upon the initial idea but rather benchmark their own thoughts, taking bits and pieces in order to develop the best pitch possible. The final product was a five-minute video which summarized all components of the business. The video had a deadline to meet for it to be uploaded to You Tube.

slu-7wqGreg Davenport., youth coordinator at SLU’s Center for Entrepreneurship, said the experience was incredible.

“Students in St. Louis began with a problem, developed a solution, and then passed it on to the next time zone,” Davenport said. “These steps were repeated until the idea went ‘around the world’ and back. The final pitches were very impressive.”

Davenport added that the feedback from parents, supporters and all sites around the world was also extremely positive.

Cathy Kawano-Ching, site coordinator at the school in Honolulu, Hawaii, said the event was an incredible experience for her as well as her students.

“My kids had a total blast in the opening session and couldn’t wait to continue working on their projects the next day,” Kawano-Ching. “It was super awesome for me too. I learned tons as I watched the group dynamics and the resulting decisions they made. I’ve gained insight into what is needed to make this kind of event a richer experience for my kids, and it has also given me great food for thought on what we may need to develop in our curriculum as we emphasize entrepreneurial teaching and learning.”

Davenport added that they are already planning for next year’s program.

View a video of the event at http://vimeo.com/81273776.

For more information, contact Greg Davenport in the Center for Entrepreneurship at 314-977-3282 or davenpgm@slu.edu.

students2-4b7Students from eight St. Louis high schools took part in the Center for Entrepreneurship global celebration.
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