Young Penticton entrepreneurs given boost to start their ventures

Penticton high school students were awarded over $3500 in prize money to help start their entrepreneurial ventures.

Members of the Green Cat team

Members of the Green Cat team

Penticton high school students were awarded over $3500 in prize money to help start their entrepreneurial ventures last week at the Young Entrepreneurs Dragons’ Den Competition luncheon.

This year’s top high school top was Penticton Secondary students Morgan Parker and Niall Carolan. They developed an closure device to help prevent the oxidization of wine, which they hope to manufacture and sell within the Okanagan.

The top placing middle school team, from Skaha Lake Middle School, developed eco-friendly cat scratching posts made entirely out of recycled materials. The Green Cat team includes Carolina Bevanda, Joycelyn Legary, Natasha Faye and Makeena Hartmann, who are planning to donate a percentage of their profits to the SPCA.

Modelled on the television show, the competition rewards students for creative business innovations based on economic, environmental and ethical factors.

Over the course of three months, competitors participate in three rounds of judging by local business entrepreneurs and sponsors on the development who evaluate of the students’ ideas, with the goal of progressing in the competition to win a cash prize, which they can then use to launch their new venture.

The competition is operated in a partnership that joins Okanagan College Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) with School District 67. As they work through the three tasks required to successfully complete the competition, the students are mentored by SIFE team members.

“My favourite part of the program was seeing the enthusiasm the kids have for entrepreneurship and how they have taken the lessons we taught and applied them to their business ideas, as well as in their everyday lives,” said Molly Ciardullo, a business student at Okanagan College and project manager for the SIFE young entrepreneur competition.

At the trade show prior to the luncheon, the student had the opportunity to sell some of their products which included products from all ten teams.