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Woodstock High School students pitch ideas as part of business program

Program teaches students about entrepreneurship

Woodstock High School students Riley McKenzie (from left), Irene Vasquez, Jared Grupe and Andrew Gippert recently were recognized for their idea for InPerson, a website proposal that would allow users to connect with mentors who specialize in areas of interest or skills, such as photography.
Woodstock High School students Riley McKenzie (from left), Irene Vasquez, Jared Grupe and Andrew Gippert recently were recognized for their idea for InPerson, a website proposal that would allow users to connect with mentors who specialize in areas of interest or skills, such as photography.

Woodstock High School held a contest this week for its student entrepreneurs.

The school’s INCubatoredu program connects students with community leaders to create business startups. Ideas this year included a fitness service, an event finder, a food delivery tracking service and a mentor finding service.

Curriculum for the program is meant to foster learning about marketing, ideation, product planning, finances, sales planning and experimentation. The nine-month program finishes with a business pitch event at the school. The program is in its second year.

Dustin Smith, a career and technology teacher who oversees the program, said more than 30 volunteer community business leaders have been helping the students.

“Students learn how to create a startup business from coaches. The coaches are community members that are content experts and have had business success in the real world,” Smith said. “At any point throughout the school year, a coach or mentor can be found guiding students in the classroom.”

The team that came up with a service called InPerson won the recent pitch event.

InPerson is a proposed website that lets users connect with mentors that specialize in areas of interest or skills, such as photography.

“More and more people are getting online to learn each year – a growing number that now reaches 50 percent of Americans,” junior Riley McKenzie told the panel. “Yet 78 percent of Americans preferred in-person over the online alternative. How, in the age of technology, are we going to bridge this gap?”

Other InPerson team members were Jared Grupe, Andrew Gippert, Irene Vasquez and mentor Jackie Speciale of manufacturer MAC Automation Concepts.

Anyone interested in volunteering for next year’s INCubatoredu program can email Smith at dsmith@wcusd200.edu.

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