Over 700 students and 135 teams participated in the challenge last year, according to a document about the program. The challenge awarded $80,000 in scholarships.
“It’s an entrepreneur challenge for anyone grades 9-12,” MCHS Principal Kelly Bell said, adding that the teams consist of 2-4 students. “They have to come up with an idea and pitch it to a review board of people who are in the business sector.
Bell said Hampton is apparently visiting all Kentucky high schools to discuss the program.
According to a document about the 2017 challenge, 92 percent of participants had “no prior pitch experience,” and 74 percent of them are “now considering starting their own business as a career pathway.” Fifty-two out of 120 Kentucky counties and 441 public schools participated in the challenge last year.
Hampton has different dates throughout the school year where certain parts of the challenge are due, Bell said. “The really cool thing is, they come up with an idea, they give them money to support the idea and they also put it out nationally so someone might want to buy the idea,” she said. “It’s really neat what they do.
“If you ever watch Shark Tank, some of the kids have some of the best ideas on there and not the adults.”
Bell added that younger entrepreneurs look at things like, “This is a problem. I have to come up with the answer.
“I’ve always said in school, ‘If you have any type of situation where you need a solution to, kids will come up with it.’”
Bell said the winners of last year’s challenge created a solution to not missing a school bus.
“It was some type of thing that they fixed that you would not miss your bus,” she said. “That’s really cool.”
While she is excited to speak to her students about the challenge, entrepreneurship isn’t new to MCHS, Bell said, adding that “we have been on the entrepreneurial train for a good while now.”
Bell said they have a special entrepreneurship class that meets 30 minutes a day, four days a week.
One student made a gun slide, Bell said, “and he makes gun slides now for people and makes really good money at it.”
“The kids keep all the money,” she said. “They just have to give us some money for materials.”
Bell said students have also created a kitchen table, a tool box that goes on the back of a truck and some students even repair equipment.
“If you bring something in, like a gravity wagon, they will fix the holes, they’ll weld over the holes, they’ll repair and update it for like $100-$150,” she said.
“I like to get money in the kids’ hands,” Bell said, adding that she wants the students to learn the benefit of working, both mentally and physically. “It really excites them for someone to appreciate their work and to give them money for it.”
Bell said their entrepreneurial class is called “Entrepreneur Class.”
“I like to call things exactly what they are,” she said. “So that’s what the outcome should be.”