Eight teams of Battle Ground Academy students in the school’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program recently presented new business concepts and plans to a panel of top Middle Tennessee entrepreneurs.
Seniors Berkeley Allison, Mer Mixon, Mila Perez and William Spooner captured first place, which included a $1,000 prize, for their venture Denta-Gone, a nutrient-packed dental chew for adults.
Launched in 2015, BGA’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program is one of the few four-year comprehensive entrepreneurship programs offered by high schools in the country. It equips students with skills and mindsets to creatively solve real-world problems through hands-on active learning. The Capstone Pitch Competition serves as the culmination of the senior year of the program.
“We continue to see increased interest by our student body in the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program,” Hallie Heiter, director of the program, said in a press release. “This was our largest group to participate in the capstone project, and they showcased some of the best work we’ve seen to date.”
The teams pitched their ventures to an esteemed panel of judges that included Michael Bryant, CEO/Co-Founder of ARMS Cyber; Austin Casselman, CEO of Implement Now and CEO/Co-Founder of Catchin’ Deers; Khrys Hatch, Capital Formation Manager at Launch Tennessee; Brynn Plummer, VP of Inclusion & Community Relations at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center; and Jon Yarbrough, Founder and CEO of Video Gaming Technologies.
“I was totally impressed by not only the concepts these students presented but also by the depth of thought behind their ventures and how they proposed to launch them,” Casselman said. “BGA’s program obviously provides the tools these kids need to be successful entrepreneurs. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this group of students down the road.”
Denta-Gone proposed a nutrient-based, adult dental chew targeting those who may lack access to oral health care and also on-the-go adventurers. Second place went to IVFY, a proposed online community to assist women struggling with fertility and going through IVF by providing reduced-cost hormone shot delivery, telehealth access and support. The third-place team was Vector Suits, who proposed affordable bespoke tech-enabled, comfortable, and easy-to-maintain blazers fitted virtually using augmented reality.
The competition was held in the newly opened Yarbrough Family Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which serves as the home for the school’s EL Program. It is located in the Sondra Morris and Robert N. Moore Jr. ’52 Center for Arts and Entrepreneurship, which also includes a new theater and auditorium.
The Yarbrough Family Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership includes four entrepreneurship-focused classrooms and five breakout spaces — including one with audio/video equipment for recording presentations and vocal performances. In addition, there will be a makerspace with a 3D printer, laser cutters and a host of other technologically advanced prototyping tools.