Business ideas take teens to the next level

FELTON – Two groups of students at Lake Forest High School are now finalists in an international competition after completing mandatory project for their Business and Corporate Management class taught by Corey Yanoshak.

The Diamond Challenge, run by the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware, is an educational competition open to high school students developing business concepts. Students in groups of two to four must prepare both a written concept and a five minute presentation as well as be prepared for questions afterwards.

“If they were ever going to do a real business plan, they’d have a 30-40 page business plan easy,” Mr. Yanoshak said.

Lake Forest students

Four Lake Forest High School students comprising of two teams were chosen as finalists in the international Diamond Challenge run by the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware. One of the teams will advance on Sat. April 30 to compete against students from the USA and abroad. From left to right: ReS+itch creators John Ryall and Amanda Queen, Erica VanVessen and Logan Dollinger who came up with Cool Beans and their instructor Corey Yanoshak.

Although two teams of four students total from Lake Forest moved on to the final international competition to be held on April 30 at the University of Delaware, one team is no longer able to advance to the international competition.

Amanda Queen and John Ryall created ReS+itch, a concept that would involve refurbishing donated to resell at an affordable price.

“We thought something like that would help the underprivileged. What you wear is important,” Ms. Queen said about the project.

Cools Beans, an idea by Logan Dollinger and Erica VanVessen that will be presented during the upcoming event, seeks to fill another need at their school: morning coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

“We don’t have coffee in our school and a lot of our students said they’d like to have that opportunity,” Mr. Dollinger said. “We only have water and milk and it’d be nice to have something different.”

The teams each won $500 for reaching finals, and could win up to $7,500 for first place in the final competition with an additional $1,000 awarded to the sponsoring teacher to fund entrepreneurial education initiatives.

Lake Forest High School has had a presence at the competition since it began three years ago. Mr. Dollinger attended last year and said he’s confident he knows what to expect, but also knows that won’t make the competition any easier.

“We don’t have the issues they have in Moldova. Want to bring in bikes to school. Africa wants to bring in toilets. We’re saying we want coffee,” he said.

Mr. Yanoshak, who has a bachelors and masters degree in business administration, used his own expertise to guide his students, although mentoring was available through the Horn Program for participants.

“The project is not optional and every year I get a little push back from certain groups, but it’s really something we’d be doing in class anyway so for them to get the experience and win some money, it’s just a great experience,” he said. “I just couldn’t imagine getting kids to do it after school, though, because of the amount of time it takes.”

Mr. Yanoshak knows they won’t all pursue entrepreneurship, but hopes they’ll all come away with valuable lessons.

“I think that this could help with anything you do to be honest,” Ms. Green said. For me, it was way out of my comfort zone. I don’t know if I’ll ever run a business, but I’m heavily involved in my church so maybe I’ll be a youth leader.”

Community members interested in attending the event may do so for $25 each, $10 for students. The competition will be held during the inaugural Youth Entrepreneurship Summit at Clayton Hall Conference Center.

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