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Carroll County Public Schools offers its own biz challenge

In light of the popular Carroll Biz Challenge, a local competition for start-up and young businesses in the area, Carroll County Public Schools is planning its own version of the contest.

The CCPS Biz Challenge aims to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship among Carroll's high school students. It will involve each high school in Carroll County, including the Tech Center, Gateway and a home schooling group.

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The deadline to enter the competition is March 15. Finalists from each school will be selected to pitch their idea in front of a live audience in May. The student or team of students will receive a $5,000 scholarship.

Each school will choose a team or individual to represent it. Jason Stambaugh, the creator of the Carroll Biz Challenge, said so far he's leaving that process up to the schools themselves.

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Wendy Cain, a teacher at Century High School, has been incorporating the rubric requirements into her business classes. When Cain initially brought up the idea to her classes at the beginning of the year, 25 students raised their hands that they were interested.

"How many students will actually turn the application in? I don't know. Saying I'm interested in it but then coming down and actually doing the work, that's a different story, and they're high school students," she said.

The students who have applied will present their pitches to a panel in the school, which will pick the top winner.

While she's not sure who may participate, she said she has an idea of a small group that will be serious about the competition.

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She said they haven't yet figured out how it will be incorporated in years to come. There's the potential that it will be an actual project for her classes in the future, she said.

"We really have to give them real applications [of the knowledge]," she said.

In a recent marketing class, groups of students created business ideas for the community that included a build-your-own smoothie bar, a dine-in movie theater and an indoor water park.

"We definitely use problem-based learning and application-based learning and work in teams," she said.

Stambaugh said the competition is a good opportunity for students to see how businesses work and apply what the students learn in classes.

"I really hope that helps to shape the path when they leave CCPS," Stambaugh said.

Because it's the pilot year, most of the details are still in flux, Stambaugh said. Teams can be as big or small as students would like, though the $5,000 would be split up among several people, he said. Schools will use a rubric to choose the best student to send to the competition, but there isn't a formal process.

"We're running and gunning as they say, but we've got all the right pieces in place," he said.

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