Seton Hall’s High School Pirates Pitch offers money, scholarships in ‘Shark Tank’ contest

6th annual event hopes to help next generation of entrepreneurs

Seton Hall University is looking to the high school ranks for the next generation of entrepreneurs — and is offering big bucks and scholarship opportunities to help high school students with the best business ideas.

The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stillman School of Business is inviting high school students to participate in the sixth annual High School Pirates Pitch, where they will learn the basics of entrepreneurship, including recognizing viable business opportunities, during a virtual “Shark Tank”-style competition.

The students will compete for more than $50,000 in cash prizes and scholarships to attend Seton Hall University.

The competition will take place during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020 as part of a weeklong celebration that runs from Nov. 16-22. Last year, the event received over 200 submissions from 23 states and four foreign countries.

Susan Scherreik, founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, said the need for innovative thinking has never been greater.

“In today’s business climate, which has been rocked by the unprecedented COVID-19 global health crisis, entrepreneurial education is more important than ever,” she said. “The nimble and flexible nature of entrepreneurship provides crucial lessons to young people that will help them find success and make the world a better place through their innovative spirit, creativity and passion.”

Seton Hall officials said the High School Pirates Pitch helps develop and showcase entrepreneurial skills that align with the World Economic Forum’s list of the top skills that professionals need to thrive in 2020, including complex problem-solving, critical thinking and emotional intelligence.

The competition also introduces students to the Stillman School of Business, its Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and the nationally ranked Center for Leadership Development within the Buccino Leadership Institute.

High school sophomores, juniors and seniors with a 3.0 GPA or better are eligible to submit their original business proposals that describe an innovative product or service in 350 words or less.

Interested students should submit an individual application by Oct. 27.

An independent judging panel consisting of faculty members and successful alumni entrepreneurs will review all applications and invite 10 finalists to submit a prerecorded five-minute video pitch presentation.

On Nov. 20, the finalists will participate in a live-streamed five-minute Q&A session and receive feedback from the judges.

The top contestant will receive a $2,500 cash award and a $10,000 tuition scholarship. The second-place winner will receive a $1,000 cash award and a $6,000 scholarship. In addition to recognizing and rewarding all 10 finalists with a tuition scholarship, the competition will present an Audience Choice Award of $250 to a participant who is virtually selected by parents, teachers, classmates and friends.