In 2013, GENYOUth launched its AdVenture Capital (AdCap) program when five would-be young entrepreneurs flew to Omaha to meet with business and philanthropic icon, Warren Buffett. Buffett, who started his first business before even entering high school, recognized how much young people can and will do to change the world if given the opportunity and the team at GENYOUth agreed.
While we’ve supported 1000+ student-led solutions since launching AdCap, the program has been a higher tough opportunity with the most hands-on support coming from innovation workshops hosted across the country with tremendous partners like SAP, Land O’Lakes, Inmar and UnitedHealthcare among others. Until now…
We launched the AdCap Challenge in the spring of 2019 to cast a wider net and spark entrepreneurship and social change in thousands more students. Presented through a Mission Possible style Challenge Kit delivered to educators in schools across the country, the AdCap Challenge Kit afforded students the opportunity to pick from five Challenge Questions that our corporate partners, SAP, Corteva Agriscience, Domino’s, Land O’Lakes and National Dairy Council asked them to help solve. These questions were connected to pervasive societal issues and real business issues the companies are facing like Domino’s challenge to recycle more pizza boxes (did you know that you can’t recycle all parts of a pizza box?!).
Flash forward three months, thousands of schools receiving a kit and hundreds of student teams formed to tackle these challenge questions. Of the hundreds that applied, the AdCap team picked a top twenty-five to present their solutions in video interviews before we selected the top five teams that would join us for the AdCap Challenge Finalist Experience at SAP’s Newtown Square, PA office along with all of our Challenge Partners.
At the Finalist Experience, each team had to participate in four mini challenge before delivering their final pitch to a panel of esteemed judges that included GENYOUth’s own CEO, Alexis Glick.
These five teams came from all around the country to compete for seed funding, scholarships, and prizes.
We’re pleased to share some of the amazing moments throughout the weekend, which put students through the paces but also yielded enormous growth and inspiration. Throughout it all, even from runner-ups to our winner of the challenge, each student who took part stayed determined and focused. They will take all the resources they gained over the course of the Finalist Experience and apply to creating positive change in the world around them. Read on for our highlights and follow the conversation around the AdCap Challenge on social media by searching the hashtag #adcapchallenge.
After arriving on site in Valley Forge, students did communications and team building before tackling their first “Trusted Sources” mini challenge, which gave students the opportunity to read information specific to dairy and sustainable nutrition. Now a days, it’s hard to know where your information is coming from and if it is completely accurate. Being able to have access to factual and real information when building up a new idea that pertains to helping others way of life, is extremely important and was a great way to prepare students.
The 5 teams ended the day with some friendly competition of a Go Game scavenger hunt at historic Valley Forge.
The next day, students and their Challenge Advisors headed to SAP to take on the rest of the mini Challenge and prep for their final pitches with support and feedback from our Challenge Partners. An SAP career and partner panel helped further the teams’ understanding of how important their efforts are and how passionate and innovative thinking might one day direct them into a particular career or industry.
The fast paced day ranged from creating presentations to filming videos to raise awareness for their solutions.
With tension building around each mini challenge, teams were ready to pitch their solutions to the judges Shark Tank style. Alexis Glick kicked-off the day with welcoming words and joined the judges table which included Donna Frisby-Greenwood who is the President and CEO for The Fund of School District of Philadelphia and Kim Fraites-Dow who is the CEO of Girl Scouts for Eastern Pennsylvania. Teams admitted the nervousness they had felt standing up in front of the judges but they all delivered confident and well-put together pitches.
DJ Paoni, President of SAP North America, to set the tone of what the entire three-day experience really was. Which was to invent, collaborate, learn from mistakes, and come back even stronger.
With that, the announcement of the winters came and the title went to the three young men from the Benjamin School in Florida which took home the Grand Prize of $5000 in scholarships for each student, $5000 grant for their school and a $500 gift card for Challenge Advisor. This prize became notable due to their innovative app called HurriHome which is described as an Airbnb-type marketplace for families seeking shelter during hurricanes.
Although, HurriHome took home the grand prize and even appeared on the Weather Channel a couple of days later to talk about their big idea, all of the teams were deserving of some serious accolades for all that they’ve done through the AdCap Challenge and all they will continue to do to make a positive difference.
It’s opportunities like this that help students grow and lead that continue to be the heartbeat of everything we do at GENYOUth. We cannot wait to see all the ideas that will come out of future AdCap Challenges. Thanks to everyone that played in role in this first, incredible round of the competition.
- Grand Prize Winner: The Benjamin School, North Palm Beach, Florida
- Project: HurriHome
- Team Members: Aadi, Andrew, Jonathan
- The team took on SAP Technology with Purpose question by designing an app to shelter families in need during hurricanes.
- PRIZE: $5000 scholarship per student, $5000 grant for their school and $500 gift card for Challenge Advisor
- First Runner Up: Kewaskum High School, Kewaskum, Wisconsin
- Project: Fuel Up at Home
- Team Members: Andrea, Andrew, Kennedy, Sam
- The Fuel Up to Play 60 students took came presented a Land O'Lakes, Inc. Hungry For Change solution to get nutritious food into the hands of students in need in their community.
- PRIZE: $3000 grant for their school, $100 gift card for each student and Challenge Advisor
- Finalist: Peak to Peak Charter School, Lafayette, Colorado
- Project: Sunscreen
- Team Members: Allison, Mahala, Nolan & Sam
- The finalists took on the SAP Technology with Purpose question with a project targeting tech addiction in teens to increase face-to-face interactions with their community.
- PRIZE: $1000 grant for their school
- Finalist: Ross High School, Hamilton, Ohio
- Project: JEE Foods
- Team Members: Alayna, Michael, Levi, Rylee, Sophia
- The students solved the Corteva Agriscience Hungry For Change question by reusing and repacking grocery food for donations and putting an end to food waste.
- PRIZE: $1000 grant for their school
- Finalist: Island Trees Memorial Middle School, Levittown, New York
- Project: Pizza Paws
- Team Members: Danielle, James, Melissa, Rebecca, Zach
The team took on Domino's Pizza Hungry for Change recycling challenge by re-using pizza boxes to build cat shelters.
PRIZE: $1000 grant for their school
A HUGE thank you to the tremendous team responsible for creating and implementing the AdCap Challenge, including MMS, CustomED and several colleagues at DMI that provided content and insight throughout the development process.
By Courtney Dubin, Vice President, Youth Engagement & Digital Strategy, GENYOUth