TWIN CITIES, Ill. — High school seniors showcased their business knowledge in the 4th annual Innovative Entrepreneurial Showcase.
This school year, 24 students from Normal Community and Normal West High Schools were asked to create a startup business. They spent two hours everyday talking with area business owners, learning first hand what it takes to create a successful product.
On Monday, they showcased their products to the community in hopes of getting quality feedback.
“It’s really experimental,” said Julie Hinman, Innovative Art Instructor. “It’s much, much different than sitting in a classroom and saying ‘oh here’s business model looks like, this is what was really good for this person’.”
In the fall, the students were put into groups and asked to create a non-profit. Then in the spring, they were turned loose and asked to create their own startup based on what they believe the community needs.
Addie Smith from Normal Community High School says, she created “limitless” to help people suffering from disabilities.
“Limitless creates personalized individualized school supply kits that have different decorative supplies that you can use to decorate a plain notebook and make it into your own creation,” she said.
Jess Hieve from Normal West High School created “cuff it”, which helps people who are too tall for their jeans look stylish.
“I wanted to create a way to add length to my pants,” she said. “It has a little style to it, without having to buy a new pair of pants.”
Both Jess and Addie say they have plans to continue working on their product even after graduation.
Leaders of the event say they are amazed by students’ work, but want them to know their work isn’t done yet.
“Just because they have an idea, doesn’t mean they have all the answers inside them,” said Chuck Brewer from the Profit, who also judged the different products during the competition. “They have to adopt the mindset that seeking advice from people they know and don’t know is an essential skill to designing the right product.”
Brewer went on to say, in the entrepreneurial businesses you are not judged on how many successful products you have but rather the amount of unsuccessful ones.