5 Minutes Tops Wraps With Regional Competition

Allison News

As a business teacher, Lucas Schrauben wanted to get his students pumped about entrepreneurship. He thought introducing a unit devoted to entrepreneurial endeavours would be awesome but sadly, only a few students agreed. “Most just saw it as another school project,” says Lucas. But, as he listened to many of them prepare to get crummy summer jobs, he became more and more determined to help them see the value of entrepreneurship and how it could essentially help them create their own summer jobs.

“The show Shark Tank was a huge help,” says Lucas. He began using it as a model and held a pitch competition, giving the kids Monopoly money to invest in each other’s businesses. As the students got more excited, so did the rest of the community. When he mentioned the program to the Grand Ledge Business Alliance, they decided to put up some actual money and the first round of the 5 Minutes Tops Business Competition were born.

That was three years ago.

Now, Lucas is a Career Development coordinator with Eaton RESA Career Preparation Center and he has watched local 5 Minutes Tops Events pop up all over the region giving students 5 minutes to pitch their business idea and the opportunity to win money. This year, they had 71 students register from all over Michigan.

Winners of the local competitions competed last week in the final, regional event against a handful of other students who were competing for the first time. The regional event gave out $3500 in prizes.

The winner, Emily Newborn of Emily’s Farm, impressed the judges with her detailed financial plan for her chicken and rabbit farm. Her livestock is fed a balanced diet of food grown on her own farm and she went into great detail about her costs, her profit margins and how much she saves using her own feed. “The judges were impressed with her understanding of it all,” says Lucas.

While a farming project was the winner, Lucas was impressed with the diversity of the ideas. “There was everything from farms to technology,” he says. And the audience and judges saw products such as solar panels and ceramics.

And now, for the students who didn’t get a chance to compete, and many of those that did, the next step is the Youth Startup Expo on March 24. More of a trade show than a competition, students who didn’t get to pitch at 5 Minutes Tops will be able to show off their businesses at the expo. “The competition,” says Lucas, “Was first built simply to engage students in entrepreneurship, and now it’s grown in both monetary amounts and participation.”


About Allison

Allison is a writer based out of Lansing, Michigan. She loves writing great content that helps Michigan businesses tell their stories, educate their customers, and promote their brands. Her work has been featured in Capital Gains, Mason Today, Williamston Today and more. She is also helping to promote startup activity in the region at StartupLansing. Follow her @AllySpoon

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