Did you know that 66% of millennials want to start their own business and Generation Z (those born after 1995) are predicted to be even more entrepreneurial than that?
But there’s one fact that gets in the way of these youthful ambitions: only 45% of new businesses survive after 5 years, and only 16% survive after 10 years.
So young people want to start businesses, but the risk of failure is very high.
How can we change that? One answer is the Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship High School Competition, which gives young students the skills to start businesses that break out of the red ocean of bloody ‘me-too’ competition and create blue oceans of new market space where businesses truly stand apart.
It started as a county-level competition led by high school students in 2014 with only 30 teams taking part. It has since evolved to a professional organization, and it’s getting larger every year. In 2019, more than 550 participants from more than 90 schools and 26 US states and 8 other countries took part. The competition is now receiving the support of first-class sponsors including Morgan Stanley, Wawa, CitizenM Hotels and the Baton Rouge Business Report.
High school teachers are now also getting involved, with many embedding the competition in their curriculum. This year, five high schools from Michigan, New York, Florida, Minnesota and California won US$1000 each for having the most submissions in this competition.
Every year, teams pitch their blue ocean business concepts to experienced entrepreneurs and business people. They receive feedback on their ideas, join a community of like-minded students, and compete for thousands in cash prizes. This year, the competition was entirely virtual and making it possible for students across the US and around the world to take part. All a team had to do was submit a video with their idea.
From the hundreds of submissions, 10 finalists were chosen, and 3 winners announced, along with a ‘People’s Choice Winner’. The winners got cash prizes with US$1000 awarded to the first-place winner.
Check out all the amazing finalists of the 2019 competition on the Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship Competition YouTube channel.
Aqua Aeri: Solving the issue of the lack of clean water in developing countries.
Sohan Joshi saw that many developing countries suffer from a lack of clean water while having a high humidity level. This insight led him to develop Aqua Aeri, a highly effective water condensation device that uses electronic waste to accelerate and enhance condensation, providing water to disadvantaged communities at a low price. Check out his video below. Read the interview with Sohan.
Dumplings: Inspire others and eliminate loneliness by sharing your personal stories.
Ideas and experiences are what define us and make us unique. Dumpling is a free crowdsourcing mobile app that gives people the opportunity to share bite-sized personal stories anonymously and easily, and receive comments from the network. These personal stories can inspire others and show them that they are not alone in their struggles.
Using the vast mobile network, without shame or filters, Dumpling creates emotional connections that were not possible before. Check out their video.
SafeGuard: Protect your brain from injury while enjoying your favorite sport.
Concussions are the most overlooked sports injuries but they are the number one cause of death among children and young adults. To stop you having to choose between your safety and your favorite sport, Safeguard created a wearable device and an app that detects and tracks in real time head impacts during sport sessions, preventing athletes from getting more serious injuries. Check out their video.
This year’s competition also included a “People’s Choice”, with a prize of US$750. Stressless received the most likes on their pitch video on the competition’s YouTube channel “Blue Ocean Competition”.
Stressless: Natural products to combat teenagers’ stress.
74% of students say that their stress level is affecting their performance, but 85% of the students don’t know how to deal with their stress. Stressless developed a candy that effectively removes stress in around 15 minutes using only natural and healthy products such as honey, magnesium and ayurvedic herbs. Check out their video.
Congratulations to all the winners and bravo to all the participants! Blue Oceans ahead!!!