Belpre High School students finish on top in first round of Junior PioBiz

Male high school student wearing ties and dress shirts making a presentation

Five Belpre High School students recently won the first round of Junior PioBiz, a business-idea competition hosted by Marietta College and open to all high school students in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Brady Clem, Ethan Coyner, Cody Daugherty, Walker Feick and Enrique Sobrino finished first with their idea for a “Belpre Recreation Center.” A total of 20 students competed and they presented nine business ideas on February 21st at The Gathering Place on Marietta College’s campus.

Round 1 of the Junior PioBiz Competition consists of identifying a problem that is worth solving and describing the solution. The proposed solution must potentially lead to the establishment of a for-profit or non-profit business organization. 

Belpre’s George Carter, Courtney Copeland, Gavin McCartney and Brylee Vanmeter finished second with “Snack Shack Gives Back,” followed by Dallas Bolen, Sara Ellem and Hannah Lovejoy from Veritas Classical Academy with “Fold-A-Pot.”

Rounding out the top six were all projects from Veritas.

In fourth place, were Aidan Nayak and Andrew Smith with “Kings of Comedy;” fifth place went to Sara McElroy for “The Glider Slider: a Lefty’s Bestie;” and in sixth place was Andrew Hensler and Liam Ritter with “Enhanced vehicle security.”

Each team in the top six received $50 and are invited to present their ideas in Round 2 of the competition on April 3rd.

The competition judges were Michael Fleak, Mid-Ohio Valley Division President, Premier Bank; Dr. Craig Howald, Associate Professor of Physics, Marietta College; Hannah McKain ’23, Marietta College Business and Graphic Design major; and Dr. Cheongmi Shim, Assistant Professor of Communication, Marietta College.

The members of the audience were also able to vote in this competition by investing their 1,000 PioBiz dollars on their favorite projects.

The competition is co-sponsored by Marietta Community Foundation and Marietta College, with a final award of up to $200 in cash and three free Marietta College courses.  

In Round 2 of the competition (Proof of Concept), students will take up to five minutes to prove that their business ideas are feasible. The top three winning teams in Round 2 of the competition will be chosen by the members of the audience and up to four new judges, and will receive the following awards:

  • First Place: Three free Marietta College 3-credit hour courses valued at $4,275 plus $200.
  • Second Place: Two free Marietta College 3-credit hour courses valued at $2,850 plus $150 in cash.
  • Third Place: One free Marietta College 3-credit hour course valued at $1,425 plus $100 in cash.