Dignity of Children is proud to present news coverage of our 2020 Young Sharks competition! This year, each team of students worked diligently and presented brilliant business concepts to a captive virtual audience, demonstrating determination, resilience, and dynamism in face of the mounting pressures of COVID-19 and political turmoil that surrounded them. We could not be more excited for them and their accomplishments.
Below are two inspiring articles that bring to light the achievements of the Young Sharks 2020 finalists. Read on to learn more about these brilliant students and the efforts they made in coming up with real solutions to problems in their communities.
2020’s Young Sharks Winner develops app for financial support of high school seniors
The annual Young Sharks competition created by Dignity of Children and funded by The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) was first held two years ago as a way to inspire an entrepreneurial mindset in middle and high schoolers. Entrepreneurial projects that address social issues are developed and then enter a competition in the vein of Shark Tank. This year’s competition adapted to virtual platforms 24 projects vied for victory in the first round, leaving twelve to compete in the semifinals, which resulted in six finalists.
Parsons Beacon Wins 2020 Young Sharks Competition!
When 13-year-old Mathew of Flushing, Queens, gathered his index cards and began pitching his anti-bullying app to judges of the virtual 2020 Young Sharks competition, he started to have second thoughts.
“There were many competitors, and I thought there was no way I would win,” the recently graduated 8th grader told us. “But Ronell and my mom were able to help me with my confidence, and I was able to get through it.”
The Youth Entrepreneurs Mentorship Program gives every team that participated in the Young Sharks 2020 competition the opportunity to continue developing their business concept with the help of a professional mentor, who will inspire teams to stick with their idea and bring it to market. These mentors will provide students with four 45-minute virtual coaching sessions, support teams in developing milestones, and attend fall and spring showcases with the goal of helping them bring their project to fruition. Mentors will also have the opportunity to serve as judges for the Young Sharks 2021 competition.
How young people will benefit:
• Young people will experience advanced personal growth: They will develop confidence by innovating and creating something unique. They will learn and demonstrate qualities of leadership. They will gain a sense of independence by working on components of their project independently. They will learn management and financial literacy skills.
• They will learn entrepreneurial skills that are easily transferable to any career or educational path.
• The experience and references from their mentor will make an excellent addition to their portfolio for college applications.
• They will receive guidance and advice from a mentor who makes a personal, long-term investment in them.
The Youth Entrepreneurs Mentorship Program will involve a modest commitment on your part as a mentor. To effectively administer this program, the following will be required:
• Four (4) virtual sessions of 45 minutes each throughout the year to guide your young entrepreneurs in reaching milestones for their business project.
• Attendance at two (2) virtual showcases to support your young entrepreneurs in managing the advice and feedback of other business professionals.
If you are a business professional or investor who is interested in mentoring a team of students throughout the 2020-2021 school year, please click on the link below and fill out the attached form. We will get back to you with more information!