A team of Kimberly High School students wowed the judges with their innovative clothing idea, winning the 2022 Wisconsin High School Business Model Competition held May 21 at the University from Wisconsin to Oshkosh.
Students Kade Dunham, Ryan Halada and Riley Schmidt launched Huva, a brand of sweatshirts that features a heated hood to keep wearers warm, comfortable and stylish all year round. The cotton sweatshirt would be offered in adult and youth sizes.
“We learned from research that you lose most of your heat through your neck area, so we came up with the idea because we’ve all had the problem of going to school and wearing a hat, then our hair was ruined for the rest of the day,” said Riley, a sophomore who works as a marketing manager. “We came up with the idea of adding a heated hood, because that way you stay in style and you keep all your heat in. You add heat to the hood so your heat doesn’t go away.
Kimberly’s students have learned a lot from competition, especially what it’s like to present in front of people. They are now focusing on a double pocket for a battery that can act as a phone charger.
“When we found out we were the winners, I was really shocked, but when they told us why we won, it all made sense: that we were ahead of the game and first to market. …which is a big factor in why we won,” Riley added.
A social network for disc golf players called Tossed and Found, started by Horicon High School student Alec Jarmain, came in second and will allow users to connect with each other to find lost discs using waterproof NFC tags provided free of charge to members. The Tossed and Found website will be integrated with a marketplace for buying/selling records and will contain a wiki for each record created.
Third place went to Plour, presented by Middleton High School students Aarush Jain and Michael Mounajjed, which collects unwanted plants for free and reuses them for resale in a retail setting with subscription services and add-ons complementary.
The three winning teams were judged the best among the 12 teams that submitted their business model presentations. For those who choose to attend UW Oshkosh, the scholarships are $8,000 evenly split for the winning team, $5,000 for the second and $2,000 for the third. Students on winning teams who opt out of UWO receive $3,000, $1,500, and $500 in cash, respectively.
The competition was organized by the Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at UWO. The competition was also supported by UWO’s Center for Research and Custom Services, which offered additional help with planning and execution.
UWO Provost John Koker gave a keynote address and College of Business Dean Barb Rau was on hand to present the awards. The event was coordinated by Dan Brosman, Nancy Jo Dietzen, Carrie Rule and Jeff Sachse and was open to all Wisconsin sophomores, juniors and seniors with teams of one to three members.
The judges were Kathy Griese ’97, UWO alumnus, director of economic development at the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation; Joe Stephenson ’15, ’20 MPA, Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Kaukauna; with Sean Fitzgerald, Economic Development Specialist for the City of Oshkosh; Jolene Heuchert, Associate Marketing Manager at TDS Fiber; Karen Schneider, owner and publisher of the Oshkosh Herald; and Steve Slocum, director of business development and strategy at Optima Associates.
Brosman, Executive Director of IEC, said youth entrepreneurship competitions provide a safe space to experiment with career paths and Company ideas while teaching valuable skills in creative thinking, planning, financial responsibility and the importance of relationships.