D211 Post: 5th Annual Incubator Pitch Night Proceeds in Unique Format

                       For the past five years, Business Incubator courses have culminated with a District 211 Pitch Night.  During the annual event the top business team from each school would pitch their business idea and plan to a panel of local business leaders with the goal of receiving funding.

            With schools moving to e-learning, and many activities shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it looked as though this year’s pitch night would also be cancelled.  However, in a program which requires imagination and ingenuity, the students and staff overcame the obstacles and were able to hold the pitch night, all be it in a different fashion. 

            On May 12, students, staff and judges gathered virtually using the meeting platform Zoom.  Prior to the meeting, each team submitted a Business Model Canvas and presentation for the investor panel to review. During the meeting, the teams gave an elevator pitch and took questions from the judges.

            With more than 100 people watching through a YouTube live stream, teams demonstrated their products, discussed business models, and fielded a variety of detailed questions.  Following the five presentations, the judges deliberated.  Approximately 15 minutes later, the judges announced funding for two teams.

            The panel chose to award Sparad Cases from Hoffman Estates High School and Presto Pen  from Palatine High School each $10,000.  While those two teams were selected as the winners at the end of the night, Superintendent-elect, Dr. Lisa Small, encouraged all students who participated to reach out to the companies represented to learn ways to receive funding for their products as well.

            If you are interested in learning more about the Business Incubator program, please contact Patti Ertl at pertl@d211.org.