High School Entrepreneurs Pitch Next Great Food Idea for Quicken Loans Arena

Share Article

More than 90 students from Northeast Ohio gather for the first annual High School Pitchfest. Teens work with local entrepreneurs to develop most effective elevator pitch.

Pitchfest 2014

Pitchfest's winning team of students

Sparking the interest of young talent in Northeast Ohio and positioning the area as a vibrant place for starting and growing businesses are critical to the region’s future.

"Q-Fresh Local Foods” was the big new idea for a food concession at the Q Arena cooked up by a team of teen entrepreneurs at the first annual High School Pitchfest held recently at Quicken Loans Arena. The event brought together more than 90 enthusiastic high school students from around Northeast Ohio to work with real-world entrepreneurs and hone their presentation skills. Pitchfest was presented by Bizdom Cleveland and The Veale Foundation, with support from The Entrepreneur Institute at University School.

Pitchfest featured students from ten area independent schools who were tasked to come up with a creative food concession idea, then develop an effective “elevator pitch” to sell their idea. Students worked individually, then in teams of 10 for the final pitch to a panel of judges. Each team was paired with a mentor from Bizdom. Throughout the day, entrepreneurs from the Bizdom accelerator program gave feedback and advice on the pitches.

The winning team, "Q-Fresh Local Foods," comprised of students from the participating schools, received the grand prize -- the chance to present their winning idea to Cleveland Cavs and Q Arena CEO Len Komoroski. Q-Fresh Local Foods is a proposed local food concept and mobile phone app, which invites local Cleveland restaurants to bring their menu specialties into a new Q Arena concession.

“I loved this event,” said Matthew Gnatowski, of Benedictine High School and the student who delivered the winning pitch. “I learned how to make a strong elevator pitch, and I met some great people. Our Bizdom mentor, Jason Nemeth, was so much help. I can’t wait for the next round when we get to meet Mr. Komoroski.”

All of the schools participating in Pitchfest are part of The Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum, which provides students with exceptional education and real-world experiences in entrepreneurship. Current schools in the Forum are Beaumont High School, Benedictine High School, Gilmour Academy, Hathaway Brown School, Laurel School, Magnificat High School, Montessori High School, Saint Ignatius High School, University School and Walsh Jesuit High School.

“Sparking the interest of young talent in Northeast Ohio and positioning the area as a vibrant place for starting and growing businesses are critical to the region’s future,” said Cynthia Bailie, executive director of the Veale Foundation. “Introducing students to Cleveland’s entrepreneurial scene while they are still in high school provides young people with networks to rely on as they make decisions about where to anchor their professional lives and careers. We want Cleveland and Northeast Ohio to be a place of choice for our kids.”

About Bizdom:

Bizdom is the startup accelerator founded by Dan Gilbert, Founder of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, and Majority Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, to help entrepreneurs launch, fund and grow innovative, tech-based businesses in the urban cores of Detroit and Cleveland.

About The Veale Foundation:

The Veale Foundation is a private foundation that supports organizations contributing to a high quality of life with an emphasis on engineering, entrepreneurship and higher education. The late Tinkham Veale II, business owner and entrepreneur, established the foundation with his wife Harriet in 1964.

About The Entrepreneur Institute:

The Entrepreneur Institute helps students learn about and experience entrepreneurship. With activities ranging from classes to competitions, apprenticeships to guest speakers, the Entrepreneur Institute supports the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem with community-wide programs for kids and educators in Northeast Ohio.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Fiona Reilly
University School
+1 216-780-1348
Email >
Visit website