America's Next Crop of Entrepreneurs, from Junior Achievement

I love Junior Achievement. Its one of the oldest nonprofits helping students to get prepared for life after graduation. It has always stayed true to its cause, helping the countrys young. I just started volunteering with JA (thats for full disclosure, you know I get skin hives from horn tooters, cant stand them).

Anyway, this past week, Junior Achievement held its annual contest for high schoolers who have the most innovative ideas ready to bring to the marketplace. And their ideas are pretty white hot. These kids are going to smoke the competition once they get out into the real world.

And because Im so proud of them, Im going to yield the floor to JA. This is fresh off of their press release, the list of the winners and their ideas. At bottom youll see the other entrepreneurs-in-waiting and their inventions.

Heres JA, and here's a link to its site,

Long Island high school W.T. Clarke bagged first prize for the third year in a row of the annual Junior Achievement of New York Business Plan Competition presented by NASDAQ OMX Education Foundation.

Team WizarDrys idea was selected as the best out of a pool of 185 teams who submitted business plans for the competition. Bronx Science High Schools Team Caboost came in second and Newcomers High School received 3rd place honors. The 2011 Junior Achievement of New York Business Plan Competition was presented by NASDAQ OMX Education Foundation and hosted at NASDAQ MarketSite, located in Times Square.

To reach this point, the top three winning teams competed against over 900 high school students in an eight-week classroom-based, business plan writing boot-camp, where they were coached by corporate volunteers among the citys leading financial and corporate institutions. The final six teams survived several rounds of competition requiring them to pitch their winning business ideas to seasoned business executives and entrepreneurs, with the ultimate goal of being singled out as having the next big winning business idea that could put them on the pathway to success.

First place winners team WizarDry, comprised of students Arjan Singh, Alexandra Knorr, Jelyssa Fuertes and Michelle Colvin conceived a simple but winning business idea to develop and market a high tech water-proof cell phone case. The case is constructed from a fabric that was invented by the British during World War II to keep pilots alive if they got shot down in the sea. Its a fabric that has also been used to make fire hoses and high-end hiking gear. The young high school biz wizzes thought it provided an excellent opportunity to prevent mobile devices suffering long term water damage and/or system failure.

Team member Jelyssa Fuertes follows in the footsteps of her big sister Shannon, who was a member of the student business plan team that started the three-year winning trend by W. T. Clarke High School students two years ago. It wasnt an easy win. Competition from rival teams was tough, but team WizarDry narrowly won over the panel of judges with their polished presentation style, attention to details and a solid marketing strategy. The WT. Clarke team was coached by volunteers from FedEx Express. Members of the winning team were awarded a cash prize of $3,000 each, iphones courtesy of AT&T, a trophy for their school, and they participated in the NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell Ceremony along with the 2nd and 3rd place teams, in recognition of their outstanding achievements.

Bronx High School of Science students Team Caboost - was one of the youngest aspiring entrepreneurial teams to make it to the final round. They were awarded the second place prize in the competition. Tenth graders Jackson Finio, Matthew BuxBaum, Graham Campbell and Joshua Yellin-Flaherty were narrowly edged out of first place by less that 0.6 of a point. Team Caboost conceived the idea of a mobile app and a subscriber based software to make it easier for commuters to hail a cab. Their idea leverages GPS technology to help commuters and taxi-drivers to quickly locate each other in a busy city. The app would enable commuters to alert drivers to their location and will deliver key information such as pickup location, how many people are travelling, their destination and any special needs of passengers.

Passengers would know how close the cab is to their location and estimated arrival time. Members of 2nd place team were awarded a cash prize of $2,000 each, and a trophy for their school.

Newcomers High School team Little Angels lived up to the name of their school as the new kids on the block in the Business Plan Competition. They received 3rd place in the competition a real victory for their school since this is the first year that Newcomers High School had students participating in the Junior Achievement of New York Business Plan Competition. Team members Israel DaSilva, Angie Munoz, Anibal Benitez and Jessica Melchiorre excited the judges and spectators with the simplicity and uniqueness of their business idea. They conceived a unique and highly marketable idea for a baby mobile device with a personal and highly emotional competitive advantage. The high tech mobile would allow parents and extended family members to connect with young children even when they are thousands of miles apart. The team scored high points for their well thought out business product, their research, development and marketing plan. Team Little Angels were coached by MetLife corporate volunteers. Members of 3rd place team were awarded a cash prize of $1,000 each and a trophy for their school.

The other entrants are worthy of a standing ovation round of applause:

Academy of Finance & Enterprise " Company Name: Elite Corporations " One Line Pitch: Gaming Revolutionized " Product: In the computer gaming industry, every player demands a reliable keyboard. This sort of system will need to conquer lag time and allow customized preferences. Here at Elite, we offer our touchscreen keyboard, with the innovations of an APM system, instant desktop recording, and low latency key processing. Our keyboard is also fully customizable able to add/delete new keys, expand or decrease the area of the key, and set forth new desired hotkeys. The Chaos is a new innovative touchscreen keyboard with multipurpose functions. With more real time than lag time, the Keyboard offers an APM system, FPS system, access to desktop recording at a click of a key, and a finger print system for a safer, secure, and faster way to log on to your Windows machine. The Chaos offers the possibility of moving the virtual keys in any position, making/deleting them, and expanding/decreasing the size. Brooklyn Technical High School " Company Name: Pac'n'Seal " One Line Pitch: "Making nature fresher." " Product: When someone eats from a large bag of chips, it is highly unlikely that they will finish it all in one sitting. They have to go through the tedious process of getting something to close up their bag of chips, like a rubber band or a clip, so that their chips will not become stale so quickly. This usually doesn't last for as long as people like. Also, the plastic bag of chips are harmful to nature since they decompose slowly and stay in landfills. Our product will eliminate the need for the customer to search for something to close up their bag of chips because our product is resealable. There will be a resealable tab so consumers can close and save their bag of chips for later consumption. Furthermore, our bags are biodegradable and thus, eco-friendly as well.

High School of Art & Design " Company Name: Shine LLP " One Line Pitch: Keeping your hands clean&because we know you'll need them. " Product: The Shine LLP Jet Clean is a sink alternative that uses motion sensored jets to blast away dirt and germs automatically. Within a 15-20 second timeframe, the user will receive the ideal dose of soap and feel the massaging jets cleaning and massaging their hands without putting forth any more effort than sticking their hands inside the machine.

High School for Dual Language & Asian Studies " Company Name: New World Technology " One Line Pitch: Our goal is to make your everyday life easier by making your daily car commute faster and less of a hassle!! " Product: A navigation parking system that shows the driver available parking spaces and a complete navigation of the quickest route to the space.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School " Company Name: Swipe It! " One Line Pitch: Simplify life with one swipe! " Product: A multi-purpose card that stores information, pays public transportation and serves as an i.d.

Landmark High School " Company Name: BYGS " One Line Pitch: Bringing families together virtually with the latest and most sophisticated technology. " Product: Our product is a small device that is inserted into the 3.5 mm headphone jack of any cellular device. It acts as a webcam allowing the customer to have video chat straight from their phone. Aside from live video chat streaming, our device allows the customer to take HD images and video. The customer also has the option of storing these images and videos onto our device's built in memory, and plug our device into their USB port for easy access. Stuyvesant High School " Company Name: Reel Street " One Line Pitch: Reel Street is a NYC tourism company that leads tours based on popular filming locations in trending television shows and movies. " Product: Tourists only have access to tours that focus mainly on architecture or history of New York City. Reel Street offers a entertaining and novel approach to tourism based on the trending media culture and New York City's growing tourism industry. Reel Streets offers tours around New York City that embraces the consumers appreciation of media culture and incorporates that fascination with the lively environment of New York City to create one exciting tour. We will bring the participants to famous scenes from classic televisions shows to premiering movies.

William Floyd High School Long Island " Company Name: Sweet Sounds " One Line Pitch: "The sweetest sound heard around the world" " Product: Our product is a pair of headphones that will be wirelessly connected via a Bluetooth wireless adaptor, which transmits short-wave radio frequencies from the wireless adaptor to the technological device. Our product will also feature illuminating lights and unique sounds that can be used to find the pair of headphone in the event that the headphones are misplaced.