Students from five high schools in the Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey regions will compete in a business pitch challenge this week hosted by Firstrust Bank and the Philadelphia Eagles. The competition serves as the culmination of a program known as Entrepreneurs Game Plan powered by EVERFI, a digital learning platform launched in 24 area high schools in the fall of 2021 that uses case studies, interactive business simulations, and personal development activities to prepare students for a bright and prosperous future.
Twenty-seven business pitches were submitted virtually, and the top five were selected to present their ideas in-person on Thursday at the Firstrust Bank Club at Lincoln Financial Field to a panel of executives from Firstrust and the Eagles.
The judges will be Tim Abell, president of Firstrust Bank; Peggy Leimkuhler, chief operating officer and executive vice president at Firstrust Bank; Lauren Bernstein, executive vice president, head of account management for EVERFI; Frank Gumienny, chief financial officer of the Philadelphia Eagles; and Avonte Maddox, CB for the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Every company starts with a pitch, and through Entrepreneurs Game Plan, we've been able to equip students with the resources, knowledge, and financial literacy needed to become future business leaders," Leimkuhler said. "I'm inspired by the creativity and passion of these young entrepreneurs, and I am excited to see them take the ideas they've developed through the program and potentially grow them in the real world."
The five teams moving on to the final round are from Cheltenham High School in Montgomery County, Central Bucks South High School in Bucks County, Delsea Regional High School in Gloucester County, Hempfield High School in Westmoreland County, and Springfield High School in Delaware County.
"At the Philadelphia Eagles, we believe in empowering students to think creatively about their futures through innovative learning programs," said Gumienny. "Entrepreneurs Game Plan has provided young students in our communities with the financial literacy skills and opportunities necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs. We look forward to seeing the positive impact these young professionals make in society."
Each team was given a coach from Firstrust and the Eagles to help them train for the final pitch. The coaches offered individualized advice and support to develop the initial submissions for the final competition.
The top three teams will earn prize money for their schools – $2,500 for first place, $1,000 for second, and $500 for third. All student finalists will receive swag packs from Firstrust and the Eagles.
In addition to developing a new business idea and pitch, students participating in the Entrepreneurs Game Plan program learned how to save startup capital and balance a budget, what it means to be an entrepreneur, and how to recognize business opportunities.