Local high schools battle in business competition

Morgan Galloway

Competitors waited patiently as the judges deliberated. The room burst into applause and cheer when the judges entered, even though the panel took almost twice the amount of time allotted to make their decision.

The College of Business Administration held the Second Annual High School Business Innovation Competition Friday at the Governance Chambers in the Student Center. Assistant Dean Elizabeth Sinclair said the college uses the event as a recruitment opportunity.

“We wanted to do something to get students on campus and get them interested in possibly attending Kent State,” Sinclair said.

Twenty-one area high schools applied to take part in the event and 11 were picked to participate. The event, centered on business innovation, had the student teams of juniors and seniors build a board game and give a 20-minute presentation pertaining to the game’s business plan.

The teams who came in first, second and third place received monetary awards from Kent State.

“The game had to have some sort of innovation piece,” said Kent Roosevelt High School junior Mackenzie Huston. “We had a debit and credit swiper as our innovation piece.”

The group of four juniors from Kent Roosevelt took second place in the competition and went home with $500. The group called its game Success with Cents and team member Morgan Wallace said they came up with the idea because of the new bill in Ohio that requires business teachers to teach students financial literacy.

“We thought it would sell good in schools,” Huston said.

The teams were judged based on all elements of the business plan, from company and innovation name to marketing strategy, pricing strategy and the ability to answer questions from the judges.

“The business plan was quite extensive,” said Colton Hinkle, a student from Ashtabula County JVS whose team entered a game called Mobile Mischief. “We delegated responsibilities effectively.”

LeAnne Morrow, another student from Ashtabula County JVS but part of a different team, stressed the need to be dedicated to the project.

“It wasn’t something you could put off until the last minute,” she said.

A team from Stow-Munroe Falls High School took first place and received $1000 with a game called Silwady. The game had a tic-tac-toe-esque idea to it, and took more brainpower to play. The team said a teammate came up with the idea in Silwad, Israel.

The team said they knew they had a good idea but didn’t think they would win first place.

Another team from Stow-Munroe Falls High School went home with $250 and third place. The team created a game called Stay Away or D.E.A. The game appealed to teens throughout the world by addressing social problems such as drug use and teen pregnancy.

Kristin Dowling, adviser for students working in Kent State’s student-run businesses and judge at the event, told the team she could see drug and alcohol awareness program D.A.R.E. buying the game right away.

“I think it has so much potential,” Sinclair said about the competition, “and it’s a feel good event.”

Sinclair said she hopes to be able to accept all teams that apply for the competition next year.

Contact Morgan Galloway at [email protected].