Solinna Onwochei, a sophomore at Culver Girls Academy, who came up with the idea of creating a battery-powered bucket that can treat impure water to make it safe to drink was selected as the winner of this year’s Culver Academies Elevator Pitch Competition sponsored by The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur.
The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur hosts several competitions each year.
The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur has partnered with Impact Competition to host the first annual event at Culver Academies. For this year’s event, the Impact Competition partnered with Culver Blessings in a Backpack. The goal is to provide Culver Blessings in a Backpack with sustainable, impactful ideas that will benefit the stated needs of the organization.
“The Impact Competition incentivizes the smartest students in the country to learn more about the issues in their community, find solutions, and implement them to make a real difference in the world around them.”Lance BreitsteinFounder, Impact Competition
Thanks to an endowment by Andy and Sharlene Miclot of Austin, Texas, The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur’s Miclot Family Business Plan Competition provides Culver students with a realistic competition requiring teamwork, collaboration, and field research, under the guidance of a mentor entrepreneur.
The Miclot Family Business Plan Competition is actually an opportunity assessment plan competition, and the term “business plan” is used for the sake of brevity. This competition includes a description of the product, service, or venture and its market need. Competitive products, services, and ventures are assessed, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor. The plan includes the unique selling propositions of the product or service, along with future growth and characteristics of the market.
Any Culver Academies student is eligible to compete in the Miclot Family Business Plan Competition. For instructions on how to compete, please click below for the competition guidelines.
The winners of the Miclot Family Business Plan Competition hosted by The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur were announced on Sunday, May 14. The judges of the competition were Dr. Noemi Adame – Culver Pediatrics Center and Mr. Andy Deggeller `98 – Deggeller Attractions.
- 1st Place ($5,000): Britton Crockett '25 (Johnson City, TN) and John Afari-Aikins '24 (Carmel, IN) – Healthy Homes – a business model designed for preventative home maintenance.
- 2nd Place ($1,000): Jason Gu '24 (Shanghai, China) and Jason Tang '25 (Shanghai, China) – Tuition Internship Exchange Program (TIEP) – a business model that connects students in need of money for college tuition and private employers in need of talented individuals.
- 3rd Place ($500): Aidan Cartmel '25 (Mercer Island, WA) and Ansen King '24 (Brunevang, Denmark) – INSIGHTIA – a business model that utilizes open AI technology to customize research for students and academics through a freemium revenue model.
2022: National Property Consolidation Network – Sean Coxhead ’24 (Palmetto Bay, FL) – A business plan that removes the bank out of home mortgages and allows for smaller share investment opportunities. Mentor: Steve Medwin
2021: No competition due to COVID-19 campus restrictions.
2020: No competition due to COVID-19 early dismissal.
2019: Slide – Luis Franco, Beau Barich, and Xinrui Shi – A case with three interchangeable batteries for cell phones building of an old idea when cell phones first became pocket-sized. The new design reduces the size of the batteries and case, making them more convenient and accessible.
2018: STEM Shot – Harrison Steck and Corbin Steck – A smartphone application that would let students and teachers use their devices to complete assignments and spur discussions about the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
2017: Pulse – Nicolas Walker & Ryan Gies – A mobile application that can be the “heartbeat” of a campus. It can be used to highlight everything from major events to micro-level happenings. It lends transparency to what is actually happening at a school, all based on user preferences.
2016: Channel Abroad – Charles Zhang – A platform where those interested in studying abroad could access first-hand information and meet like-minded people.
2015: VisSig – Rayford Dexter El II, Sam Concannon, and Josh Thompkins – A visual identification electronic system to protect credit card integrity
2014: Studebiker – Brennan Hussey & Santiago Aguirre – A campus-wide bicycle rental company.
2013: C4 – Adam Stathakis & Hayes Barnes – A website for ambitious people to share goals and keep track of progress that they make.
2012: VidBid – Harris Allen & Baily Roubos – An online auction site with video.
2011: spAIR – Sky Strycker & Madeleine Loney – Tiny suitcases with toiletries and clean clothes for stranded travelers or travelers whose luggage is lost.
Deggeller Attractions is among the top carnival companies in America. Andy Deggeller took over management of the family-owned company in 2012 . The carnival company is known for its spectacular assortment of amusement rides and keen sense of quality and detail, with an emphasis on safety. Attractions range from kiddie rides like the Circus Train to the spectacular like the Super Nova. Features of the carnival also include family-oriented games and assortments of food. Deggeller serves on the board for the Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA) where a main focus of that board work has been on improving the industry’s processes for hiring H-2B permitted (nonimmigrant program permits) workers in the United States. A recent position he has held in the OABA is the 1st Vice Chairman. Andy graduated from Culver Academies in 1998.
Dr. Adame is the practice owner and chief pediatrician at Culver Pediatrics Center, a concierge pediatric and wellness clinic that delivers access, convenience, and quality to patients. Dr. Adame’s vision for the practice centers on the promotion of holistic health and wellness practices where pediatric health care should be delivered through the Culver Pediatrics Center’s mission, vision, and core values. By not taking insurance, the Culver Pediatrics Center provides value through the delivery of personalized, evidence-based, compassionate medical care for children in times of health and illness. Culver Pediatrics Center opened in 2018.
Culver entrepreneurs compete individually in the annual Elevator Pitch Competition, a contest that requires a "big idea" and a smooth sales talk in less than three minutes, the length of an average elevator ride. Contestants make their pitch while standing before two professional entrepreneurs who act as judges.
- Solinna Onwochei '25(Kalamazoo, Michigan) won the $400 first prize for her idea of creating a bucket that would purify water that people in poorer countries get from rivers and lakes. She said the bucket would warm the water and instill it with water-purification powder to reduce the risk of people contracting various water-borne diseases.
- Meagan Feick ’24 (Culver, Indiana) and Dylan Hamilton ’25 (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) came up with the idea of an app called “Scan” that would allow users to scan the complicated ingredients in skin care and other products to explain in plain language what each ingredient is and what it does. The students said the app would warn users of possible allergic reactions or cancer risks. The app also would give each product a grade of A to F to let users know how good it is for their skin.
- Kennedy Burlison '24 (Marco Island, Florida)
- Brit Crockett '25 (Johnson City, Tennesee)
- Helli Kemmler ’24 (Culver, Indiana)
- Aiden Cartmel ’25 Mercer Island, Washington, and
- Ed Kelley, Master Instructor
- J.D. Uebler, Master Instructor & Director of the Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur
Two business concepts that would reduce waste in the food industry were selected as the 2022 winners:
- Isabel Bernard ’23 (San Pedro Sula, Honduras) won the environmental/sustainability and people’s choice awards for her concept for edible silverware.
- Christian Tolksdorf ’23 (Skokie, Illinois) and Victor Zhang ’23 (Quingdao, China) won the general category with their concept on reducing food waste in the Lay Dining Hall.
- Ellen Joyce – A graduate of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and the ESTEEM program at the University of Notre Dame, Joyce is the co-founder and CEO of Digital Leader Academy, which brings Silicon Valley into the classroom by creating curriculums that educate students on emerging technology and the entrepreneurial process. Her goal is to increase the visibility of technology to women and under-represented students.
- Rian McDonnell – A graduate of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and the ESTEEM program at the University of Notre Dame, McDonnell is the Founder and CEO of Flowaste, a food analytics platform that uses proprietary image recognition technology to food service providers to optimize meal preparations and portion sizing, while reducing labor costs to maximize profits and minimize excess.
The Investment Group
Currently, The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur is hosting an Investment Simulation where over thirty students registered. The Investment Group meets bi-weekly led by a group of students with a focus in discussing investing fundamentals, market concepts, and trends, and the sessions end with the traditional "gains and losses" predictions.