CLEARFIELD – Area high school students are being challenged to dream up the next great business idea.
Recently, the Clearfield County Commissioners partnered with the Penn State DuBois Launchbox as part of its Dare to Dream competition with the DuBois Area High School.
Young, future entrepreneurs took part in a competition similar to the popular ABC television show, Shark Tank, explained Commissioner John A. Sobel, board chair.
“Dare to Dream was a pilot program that Launchbox started this year,” added Brad Lashinsky, director of the North Central PA Launchbox at PSU DuBois.
“It’s a way to get kids to think entrepreneurially, to be innovative by design and so forth. And there is like a Shark Tank finale where they’re pitching their idea to a panel of judges.”
On Tuesday, Lashinsky thanked Commissioners Sobel, Tony Scotto and Dave Glass for judging this year’s competition, and also presented T-shirts to them.
He said the pilot program had seven participants, which was narrowed to three finalists via Zoom calls. He said the district was extremely pleased with the outcome and already would like to build upon it.
Next year, Lashinsky said plans are for students from four to six area schools to enter the competition. Then, a Top 3 will be selected from each and those students will advance to a regional competition.
Launchbox will also partner with Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania to get middle school students engaged in entrepreneurial exercises to prepare them for the high school-level competition.
In future years, Lashinsky said he hopes to get even more public, private and career and technical schools involved throughout Clearfield, Jefferson and Elk counties.
Launchbox plans to use Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development to fund the program.
“I really look forward to seeing this Dare to Dream program grow and become something really cool as it continues to get bigger and bigger,” said Glass. “I really enjoyed it this year.”