SQUARE1 gives away over $2,500 in Prizes to this year’s Startup Scholars Winners!

SQUARE1 gives away over $2,500 in Prizes to this year’s Startup Scholars Winners!

Seeking more schools, mentors, and partners for next year.

Erlanger, KY – Five Northern Kentucky high school teams, from 3 different schools, competed in the 2018 Startup Scholars Business Competition with the top team walking away with over $1,000.

Kayakster Outdoors (from Covington Catholic High School), by delivering innovative outdoor products, won over an audience of roughly 100 business professionals and educators to bring home the top prize.

The final follows the March 28 Startup Scholars Regional Business Competition at Gateway CTC Center for Technology, Innovation and Enterprise, where dozens of students from various Northern Kentucky schools presented ideas that have been in the works since September.

“I can’t express how impressed I am with the final presentations,” said SQUARE1’s president, Keith Schneider. “Each week when I worked with the teams, their pitches just kept getting better and better. The advice and encouragement from numerous mentors and business leaders really paid off in giving these students an unparalleled experience.”

Not only did the community commit to mentoring and educating these aspiring entrepreneurs, but many supported the program financially. The greatest contributor to the program was the Louis & Louise Nippert Charitable Foundation.

“Without their support over the past two years, this program could not continue to grow as it has,” explained SQUARE1 ex-officio board member Dan Groneck.

Additional thanks go to event sponsors, which included student award sponsors Miami University.BB&T and Thomas More College sponsored awards for event honorees – Dan Humpert and Tony Zembrodt. SQUARE1 is also

appreciative of both Gateway Community and Technical College and St. Elizabeth Healthcare for providing venues for the competitions.

“The competition challenged us, and really took our business knowledge to another level,” said a participant from Holmes High School.

Francis O’Hara, Director of Innovation Education for Kenton County Schools enthusiastically explains that “working with high school scholars, I see great minds with ideas to create.  SQUARE1’s entrepreneurship program gives these great minds the opportunity to take these ideas to reality!” He continues “ To have professional business people who have created products that are sold across the world come, and to see what our high school scholars are creating can only lead to success for the scholars!”

Mentors, Schools needed for Next Competition

SQUARE1 is now looking to identify new schools, mentors, and partners to participate next school year. “We have already lined up a couple schools from Cincinnati Public with the goal of having representation from the entire region at next year’s events,” says Schneider.

The program runs in a variety of formats, allowing SQUARE1 to engage directly with students. This includes after-school programs, working with classes, and even group work during the school day. Students get exposure to the startup process as well as enhancing a number of valuable career skills including opportunity recognition, presentation skills, teamwork, and communication. Next year, Startup Scholars will include sessions on professional networking, social media reputation management, professional etiquette, and more.

Bob Lind, Covington Catholics Director of STEM Programs describes Startup Scholars as “a great compliment to our engineering classes at Covington Catholic High School.  It gave our students the opportunity to develop their ideas into prototypes and to learn techniques and skills needed to bring an idea or an innovation to the market.  SQUARE1 did a phenomenal job providing the teachers with resources and in-class support.”

Schools interested in participating can contact Keith@startatsquare1.com for more information. Business professionals or other seeking to contribute to the program can do the same.

“The lessons from this program not only introduce the problem/opportunity development skills of these students, but it genuinely prepares them for so many key aspects of life and career readiness,” explains SQUARE1 board member Vincent Williams, Partner at Orchestrate Technologies. “I can see several of these kids leaving their retail and restaurant jobs for internships with companies like mine.”


SQUARE1, a not-for-profit, is an entrepreneur education and business igniter providing resources to a broad range of individuals interested in turning ideas and research into thriving businesses. To uncover, educate, support, and inspire underserved entrepreneurs.


Keith Schneider                               

President, SQUARE1, Inc.



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