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4th Annual Youth Idea Challenge Takes Students Through New Entrepreneurial Challenges

First place winners Brayden Nolan, Chase Hoinacki, and Nathan Ronson of Laconia High School received a $2,000 team scholarship. Students were joined by competition judges M. Scott Powell of Envision Greater Fond du Lac, Ann Culver of Annie’s Fountain City Café, Jackie Runge of the Fond du Lac Area Foundation, and Steve Leaman of Horicon Bank.

Four area high schools sent student teams to Moraine Park Technical College on April 10 to compete in a one-day experience aimed at promoting quick, creative thinking to entrepreneurial challenges. In a twist of the usual Youth Idea Challenge that previously had students working for many months with mentors to create a business plan for a new product or service, this refreshed event provided a similar style of entrepreneurial challenges in a 3-hour timeframe.

Students from Campbellsport High School, Horace Mann High School, Laconia High School, and Oakfield High School began the day by receiving a challenge prompt and instructed to create a solution or new business idea that incorporated financial planning, customer market discovery, and ultimately a pitch to judges from the business community on why their solution was the best fit. Scholarship prizes were awarded to teams with the most creative solutions. The winners of the challenge included:

  • First place: Laconia High School students Brayden Nolan, Chase Hoinacki, and Nathan Ronson. These gentlemen created an app concept for the automotive industry that would more efficiently build cars.
  • Second place: Laconia High School students Jon Holdridge, Benjamin Rehm, Lane Meyer, Riley Sullivan, and Dawson Drews. These students created a food truck concept based on meatballs and variations of them.
  • Third place: Horace Mann High School students Paige Smith, Jordyn Stettbacher, Jordan Wood, Sean Ashenfelter, and Haddie Hughes. These students developed a solution for cable companies to offer ala carte options for subscribers.

In addition to the scholarship prizes, students were able to hear from experts in the fields of finance, market research, giving a pitch, and marketing strategies to determine the best route to take for their business solution.

The event and scholarships were made possible by the contributions of Agnesian HealthCare, Envision Greater Fond du Lac, Mercury Marine, Society Insurance, CD Smith Construction, Fond du Lac Area Foundation, Michels Corporation, Drexel Building Supply, JF Ahern Co., Summit Automotive, and Kondex Corpration. Additional contributions were received from Edward Jones, Fond du Lac Morning Rotary, Fond du Lac Noon Rotary, Grande Cheese, Horicon Bank, Integrity Saw & Tool, Keller Inc., Lake Breeze Dairy, Mid-States Aluminum Corp., Moraine Park Technical College, and For more information about the IGNITE! Youth Idea Challenge, please visit