Humboldt County Office of Education: High School Students to Compete in Virtual Business Challenge Competition

High School Students to Compete in Virtual Business Challenge Competition

High School Students to Compete in Virtual Business Challenge Competition

Five Humboldt County high school students have made it to the finals and will compete in the INNOVATE! Business Challenge virtual finale on Thursday, May 21 beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Those interested can tune in on the Humboldt County Office of Education webpage or on Facebook and join the watch party.

The INNOVATE! Business challenge is a high school idea competition designed to promote entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. The challenge begins in fall and has three phases and three different sets of judges. In phase one, students create and submit business start-up ideas as 60-90 second video elevator pitches. This year 136 ideas were submitted. Judges review and score videos to select the top 50 concepts to move into phase two.

The semi-finalists develop answer sets to 13 key business concept questions and have to showcase how they would develop viable business models, identify target customers, and make their business profitable. Phase two judges have the difficult job of selecting only five final concepts to present in a “Shark Tank” style event and compete for cash awards.

2020 INNOVATE! Business Challenge Finalists

  • Jude Ortega – Jude’s Reusable Sandwich Bags – Arcata High
  • Samantha Gleave – Pet Portraits – Six Rivers Charter High
  • Elias Surber – Rooty Glassworks – Eureka High
  • Chandler Mrotzek – SAVI Assistant – Alder Grove Charter
  • Caleb Weiss – Bayside Advertising Solutions – Northcoast Preparatory Academy

These five will give their presentation pitch to judges who will listen, ask questions and deliberate to determine who will walk away with over 8,000 dollars in cash and media.

Finale judges this year include Victoria Bennington from Bicoastal Media; Jennifer Budwig from Redwood Capital Bank; Dave Fisch of Fisch Drilling; and Kyle Visser of Shred Aware.

Beginning Saturday, May 16, each finalist and their phase one video will be featured each day leading up to the competition through the Humboldt County Office of Education social media platforms @HumboldtCOE. Check out the video pitches that started it all.

For more information about the Business Challenge or any other INNOVATE! programs, please contact Karen Brooks at (707) 445-7563 or