College of Business and Economics

Monona Grove High School student earns top prize in UW-Whitewater Pitch Competition

April 03, 2020

Written by Dana Krems | Photo by Nicholas Pook

Finalists from seven high schools across Wisconsin and Illinois competed for $3,750 in cash and prizes at the fourth annual Midwest High School Pitch Competition held at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on March 4.

The highly anticipated competition drew 41 applicants, and eight pitches were selected for the live “Shark-Tank”-style event. Each individual or team had six minutes to present their idea and business model to a panel of judges, who asked follow up questions, evaluated the presentations and provided feedback.

Camille Simmons of Monona Grove High School in Monona Grove, Wis., won first place and $2,000 for Pack-A-Pillow. Inspired with the idea of transforming travelers’ coats into supportive neck pillows, Simmons has already formed a limited liability company, is prepared to apply for word and logo marks, and has filed for provisional patents.

Camille Scrine, Cole Jiaras and Lauren Schwaab of New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill., won second place and $1,000 for Spark, a suburban parking service app. Jennifer Lopez, Jakub Slomczewski and Nick Pitzaferro of Barrington High School in Barrington, Ill., earned third place and $500 with their pitch for Morning Friend, an alarm clock app.

Gwendolyn Richardson from the Elkhorn Area High School in Elkhorn, Wis., took fourth place for CryoCare Bandages. The team of Charlie Olesker and Ethan Gray of New Trier High School won fifth place and an Amazon Echo for Shampanimals, and Connor Dallman of DC Everest in Wausau, Wis., earned sixth place and a $50 Best Buy card for Apollo Picks.

Other finalists included Meg Bierce of Pewaukee High School in Pewaukee, Wis., with Clinicky, and the team of Olivia Freiberg, Maddy Draves and Jamie Catania of North Fond du Lac High School in Fond du Lac, Wis., with Stay Green Bags.

“UW-Whitewater — one of the top-rated entrepreneurship programs in the U.S. — was once again delighted to offer the Midwest High School Pitch Competition,” said Dave Gee, entrepreneurship program coordinator and founder of the high school pitch event. “This exciting competition provides students the opportunity to develop innovative products, services and software and be rewarded with funds to help accelerate their startup growth.”

“I would like to thank the students, their high school faculty and their parents for their support,” Gee added. “Without all of these people, the competition would not be possible.”

First launched by the UW-Whitewater Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization chapter in 2017, the Midwest High School Pitch competition was developed to foster creativity, innovation and solution-orientated thinking within high school students. The event also highlights the nationally acclaimed entrepreneurship major within the College of Business and Economics.

The UW-Whitewater CEO chapter’s mission is to inform, support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and to seek opportunity through enterprise creation. This successful student organization offers access to invaluable resources, such as the UW-Whitewater Launch Pad and UW-Whitewater Incubation Program, as well as exceptional entrepreneurial education and networking experiences.