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Delaware students take the Diamond Challenge

Young entrepreneurs could win seed money to fund their ideas
November 4, 2014
Last year's winning Diamond Challenge team from Sussex Tech High School in Georgetown includes (l-r) Devin DeLoach, Jenna Stevens, Emily Nichols, Tyler Butler along with teacher Frank Makray. They won a $7,500 prize for their photography business, Raven Eyes. The first deadline for this year's Diamond Challenge is Friday, Nov. 7. BY SUBMITTED

High school students with the next big business idea could win seed money from a $25,000 pool by taking the University of Delaware's Diamond Challenge.

The first deadline for submissions is Friday, Nov. 7.

Julie Frieswyk, external programs coordinator for University of Delaware, said the program gets students to think of building a business much like a scientist. Students pitch their ideas through a written concept and presentation. The grand prize for the winning team can be used either to make their business a reality or for continued education, Frieswyk said.

The contest draws primarily from Delaware students but is open to Maryland and Pennsylvania students as well.

Last year’s winners from Sussex Tech High School, were advised by business, finance and marketing teacher Frank Makray. Students Devin Deloach, Jenna Stevens, Tyler Butler and Emily Nichols won for their photography store idea, Raven Eyes. While the teacher provides editing and support, Makray said the students make the project happen.

The Raven Eyes store sells student portraits and sports and band shots. The store is active and can be found at www.raven-eyes.com.

“Students love the opportunity but in the end are the ones who must set a high standard to stay motivated. They must prioritize and fulfill all requirements and in the end with my help and practice, practice, practice, they can succeed,” Makray said.

Frieswyk said besides the Sussex Tech team, there are also two teams from Indian River High School. Dover’s Woodbridge High School and Polytech are also sending teams.

Ultimately, teams will submit their final plans in December before making their pitches at a local contest in March at the Owens Campus of Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown. The top three in each county will move on to the final competition April 30 at University of Delaware in Newark.

“There are really important skills they get through this exercise to find out what they want to do with their lives,” Frieswyk said.

For more information, go to diamondchallenge.org.