By David Hazledine
ROCHESTER — Tippecanoe Valley High School students Eric Eikenberry and Kiera Smythe won first place and $500 at the “First Pitch by FEDCO” competition held Thursday, March 9, at the Geneva Center in Rochester.
Their winning “pitch” to the judges was for a business called “Mag Pik,” producing 3D-printed guitar picks fitted with a magnet, which attaches to metal components on a guitar for easy access and loss prevention.
Since 2018, Amy Beechy, director of BizGro, FEDCO’s small business development program, has organized the competition, which is sponsored by Fulton County REMC. This year, five teams from Tippecanoe Valley, Caston and Rochester high schools competed for $1,800 in cash prizes.
Judges were Andrew Horstman of Fulton County REMC, Kim Martin of Hoffman Body Shop and Chris Hoffman of Machine Castings Specialties. Fulton County Chamber of Commerce Director Jillian Smith was timekeeper.
First Pitch “promotes a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in Fulton County,” said Beechy. “It exposes students to the process of creating a business. … I just love the ideas students come up with.”
During each presentation, the teams have seven minutes to describe their product/service, prove the business’ feasibility, define the business model and how it will make money, state what their “competitive edge” will be and why the owners are a good fit for their type of business.
This is followed by a Q&A session with the judges.
New FEDCO Director Michael Ladd was impressed. “They have to think through the process. They’re figuring it out and they take it seriously.”
Which is very much the point of this mostly academic exercise. And while an actual business has yet to be created from the event, Beechy noted that “you never know when something is going to take off.”
“First Pitch by FEDCO” was broadcast live on rtc4.com.
For more information on BizGro by FEDCO, visit fultondevelopment.org/bizgro-3.