A student business startup team from Conant High School focused on green technology was one of two winners in a national high school entrepreneurship competition hosted by INCubatoredu.
Five teams from INCubatoredu high school programs were selected to compete in the National Student Pitch Competition, a "Shark Tank" type event where students compete to win funding for the launch of a new business.
The student teams pitch their business concepts to prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders serving as judges.
The Green Dirt team from Conant in Hoffman Estates and a team from Rock Island High School both won top honors, including grants of $7,500 in funding to kick-start their businesses.
"We had five strong teams this year and two teams stood out," said Michael Miles, co-founder of INCubatoredu. "These are student teams with business concepts meeting very real … needs that our judges agreed deserve a shot at becoming successful businesses."
Green Dirt is a startup to convert food waste from local restaurants into organic composting material that is sold to nurseries and garden centers. The premium, odorless composting product is created by utilizing the natural digestive tract of worms.
Last May, the team had won $20,000 in a competition among the best teams from about 50 districtwide in Palatine Schaumburg High School District 211. The seed money came from the District 211 Foundation.
Students on the team were Akash Moozhayil, Kunal Mahajan, Stoil Ionov, Rohan Antony and Patryk Barszczuk. The team's mentor was David Wolff of Wolff's Fleamarket.
INCubatoredu's national funding competition is held every summer at the organization's professional development summit in Chicago for educators and collaborators from more than 90 member schools across 15 states.
More information is at www.incubatoredu.org.