Lakota West HS business team 1 of 5 in nation to dive into ‘shark tank’ contest

Lakota Schools are feeding some of their top students into a “shark tank” and district officials couldn’t be happier or more proud about it.

A group of Lakota West High School students will soon be making their new business idea pitch to judges similar to TV’s popular “Shark Tank” show, where a panel of business experts decide who wins funding for their entrepreneurial idea.

The Lakota West team – MatchedUp - are among five high school groups nationwide invited to travel to Chicago later this month to compete in the “INCubatoredu National Pitch” for a thousands of dollars in start-up funding.

Across America, 56 submitted their video applications for the contest.

The Lakota West team is the only one in Ohio to make it to the finalist round.

“To be selected as a top five team in the country in just the second year of the program at Lakota speaks to the amazing work and dedication that this group of students put into their idea,” said Lakota teacher and team advisor Kevin Keen.

“The excitement from the team is at an all-time high as they prep to showcase their amazing and innovative business on a national level. I am extremely proud of MatchedUp,” said Keen.

Keith Koehne, executive director curriculum and instruction, said “in just two short years, INCubatoredu has proven to be a valuable addition to our high school curriculum.”

“We’re proud of our Matched Up group and are looking forward to cheering them on as they compete on the national stage,” said Koehne of the business education program launched in 2019.

The program is sponsored by Miami University’s Farmer School of Business John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship and representatives from local businesses partner with participating students in their learning about the realities of entrepreneurship.

Officials with the the National Pitch Competition said since it began five years ago, 13 student teams have been awarded nearly $100,000 in funding to high school teams to finance their businesses.

“In this environment, the capstone is an experience sharpened by the interaction between the teams and judges, who are entrepreneurs and leaders in the business world. INCubatoredu students have been researching, interviewing, and testing their business models in the marketplace throughout the academic year,” said Executive Director of Uncharted Learning - host organization of the Pitch Competition - Christy Scott.

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