Diversity & Inclusion
Awards / Entrepreneurs / Guest posts / The Diamond Challenge / Youth

How these Philly high school students impressed Stitch CEO Jake Stein

Stein judged Philadelphia's first Diamond Challenge, a teen business pitch competition with roots in Delaware. Here's what stood out to him.

This is a guest post by Stitch CEO Jake Stein.

This Saturday, I helped judge the first-ever Philadelphia Diamond Challenge Pitch Competition for high school entrepreneurs. A partnership between Coded by Kids, Benjamin’s Desk, and the Paul & Linda McConnell Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative at the University of Delaware, this event brought together 14 teams from the Greater Philadelphia area to compete for cash prizes in Business Concept and Social Venture categories. As a judge for the Business Concept track, I watched students present ideas that ranged  from sneaker ecommerce to dog treats to solar-powered tablets. To put it mildly, these kids had game.

The winning team was SteerSecure, from West Chester East High School, whose idea was a steering wheel cover that prevents car accidents from drowsy driving. The idea was impressive, with both a big market opportunity and the ability to make a huge social impact. They won $1,000.

SteerSecure’s execution was even stronger than their idea. They knew their pitch cold, had coordinated the entire thing down to matching accessories, and seamlessly handed back and forth between each other. They identified all of their key stakeholder groups and developed targeted, distinct value propositions for users, economic buyers, and influencers. This would have have been an impressive pitch for a team at any age, but it was even more mind blowing when I compare it to my high school business experience inadvertently committing mail fraud.

Frost Heave, from Freire Charter in Center City, a cross between a fantasy eSports league and social gaming network, was another incredible team. I’m not a gamer, but their pitch resonated with me because it was all about emotional connection. The two cofounders initially bonded playing games together online before they became partners on this project. They weaved the story of their product and go-to-market strategy like a well-executed raid on an enemy guild (fingers crossed that is a legit reference). It was a good reminder of the importance of emotion and storytelling in a pitch.

Watching all of the teams, I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude that none of them are starting ETL software companies. I do not envy their future competitors.

If you’re looking to get involved with the next generation of Philly entrepreneurs, reach out to Coded by Kids at info@codedbykids.com. The nonprofit is looking for volunteers for events on May 1 and 2 during Philly Tech Week 2017 presented by Comcast.

Companies: Coded by Kids / 76 Forward

Before you go...

Please consider supporting Technical.ly to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, Technical.ly has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services

Join the conversation!

Find news, events, jobs and people who share your interests on Technical.ly's open community Slack


Gopuff lays off 6% of workforce, as it prepares for 'next leg of growth'

Philly coworking guide: 21 places to get work done

Philly Power Moves: Penn bets on AI with its first vice dean dedicated to the tech

5 local orgs with services and resources for startups and entrepreneurs

Technically Media