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WATCH NOW: INCubatoredu businesses impress judges at 'final pitch'

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incubatoredu businesses

The board of directors for the INCubatoredu Program are Jamie Strange, senior vice president of Belgrade State Bank in Farmington; David Scism, general manager of Sam Scism Ford and Matt Sebastian, president of First State Community Bank of Farmington.

Farmington High School's INCubatoredu class teams had held their final pitch May 11 at Truman Auditorium before an audience and three judges who were called the board of directors.

Farmington High School's INCubatoredu class teams had held their final pitch May 11 at Truman Auditorium before an audience and three judges who were called the board of directors.

The teams were formed in October 2021 and a Mentor Match Meeting was held that involved more than 40 community business members who attended and listened to the students' initial business ideas. Mentors were placed with each group: Mary Lee Visnovske and Melanie Montgomery of Earth Mother Health Foods; Parks Peterson, St. Francois County Treasurer; Chris Morrison of State Farm Insurance and Kevin Bloom, founder of MessageSpring.

Business instructor Christy Pierce provided leadership for the teams as they developed their businesses.

“We had many other community members dedicate their time to this new program,” she said. “We cannot thank them enough. We had small business owners, software developers, CPAs and attorneys come and dedicate their time in their respective fields giving their advice.”

In February, the students held their Minimum Viable Product or MVP pitch. The students presented the the least amount of seed money needed to get the product or service out to the market.

The board of directors was made up of Jamie Strange, senior vice president of Belgrade State Bank in Farmington; David Scism, general manager of Sam Scism Ford, and Matt Sebastian, president of First State Community Bank of Farmington. The students running each business stood on the stage and gave a presentation of their business and fielded questions from the board members and the audience at large. The three finalists were PartyNow!, HonorRollEDU and Taffeine.

PartyNow! is a website in which customers can customize all the items needed for a party. The team will deliver and set up a party at the venue of the customer’s choice in the St. Francois County area. The team was comprised of McKennah Wallace, Carter Murray, Kenzie McAllister and Ethan Anderson.

HonorRollEDU is an affordable tutoring service that matches students with qualified instructors in the community. The program is designed to help students in rural areas who lack good access to tutoring, and to help students who have fallen behind due to COVID issues. Kate Howard, Tessa Hand, Campbell Blum and Breanna Mathes made up the team. The business actually showed a profit before the final pitch.

Taffeine consisted of partners Peyton Ryan, Landen Reeder, Diep Phan and Cadence King. The product is a naturally-caffeinated taffy with ingredients that can be fully absorbed in the digestive system for a quick energy source. At one point, the team partnered with Kristina Gardner, a senior product development scientist with Mars Wrigley who made a prototype in the Mars Wrigley lab to help correct the formulation.

After extensive deliberations, the board of directors selected HonorRollEDU as the winner receiving the $2,000 to apply to their business. In an unexpected twist, the board members were so impressed with the other two businesses that they awarded them $500 each.

The entire final pitch event can be watched on YouTube at https://youtu.be/CBPOVYpU0Eg

Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com

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