On Saturday, March 4, 2023, two of our Entrepreneurship Diploma businesses competed in the University of Houston Think Tank pitch competition at the Wolff Center of Entrepreneurship. 18 teams from high schools and programs within Greater Houston communities competed against one another for prize money to invest in their businesses provided by the Downtown Rotary Club of Houston.
Both Village teams, Step In Education and Who Got Next, placed in the final top 5 teams and then had to pitch in front of a panel of judges consisting of UH faculty. After much deliberation, the judges made the decision to award first place to Who Got Next. This business provides college-level exposure to underrepresented high school athletes (see @whogotnzxt on IG), run by juniors Walton Kunu, Shaan Patel, and Dante Zain Ilham.
“I felt so happy at the end when they announced that we won because this was something that the entire team worked extremely hard for,” said Zain Ilham.
In addition to attaining a prestigious accolade, the event helped Viking entrepreneurs gain exposure to vital networking opportunities and grow a better understanding of what successful businesses look like.
“To me, the best part of the UH Think Tank pitch competition was getting to learn from other businesses there and what their techniques were,” said Kunu. “This gave me a good insight into what our own business is doing well and what areas need improvement. I also enjoyed the connections made and relationships built in my time there.”
The Village School was also awarded the star award for outstanding school for having two teams place in the top 5. This honor is a testament to the school’s Entrepreneurship diploma program for honing the business acumen in students so they are able to showcase their ideas effectively and persuasively.