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Lafayette Duo Wins Statewide Entrepreneurship Competition

Lafayette Duo Wins Statewide Entrepreneurship Competition

The high schoolers’ nervousness was palpable, even after a week of practicing their business pitches in the theater at the Opportunity Machine, Acadiana’s premier business incubator. In one- and two-person teams, the students from Acadiana High School and Northside High School, impressed the judges in Lafayette’s first “Trust Your Crazy Ideas Challenge” sponsored by Junior Achievement.

All the work leading up to the competition Tuesday evening paid off for seven students who were survivors from earlier Lafayette competitions that whittled down the number of contestants. 

Taylor Randell and Shariss Goodley, a team from Acadiana High, won the competition with Absolute Beauty Finder, a phone app to find just the right skin tone with buying makeup. Randell and Goodley will soon compete at a statewide competition in New Orleans for a shot at a $10,000 scholarship presented by The Brees Dream Foundation.

Randell and Goodley then went on to impress all the judges recently in New Orleans, where Absolute Beauty Finder was declared the winner at the statewide Trust Your Crazy Idea Challenge, taking home the $10,000 prize money awarded by Brees' Foundation.

The Lafayette competition, held in the theater at LITE in mid-March, was sponsored by Capital One and Innov8 Acadiana.
Smart phones and millennials’ attachment to them figured in all the pitches Tuesday. All seven students – four on two-person teams, the others going solo – presented companies that featured killer apps. Or, in the case of Jeanie Clash, a solar-powered smart phone charging case that was affordable and could be bought in bulk for fashionable accessorizing.

The competition was judged by Kenny Maggard, Acadiana Market President for Capital One; Robyn Hamilton, CEO of The Hamilton Experience; and Tom Elliott, a certified public accountant with Postlethwaite & Netterville.

Each team presented a one-minute video commercial, a six-minute pitch and a three-minute question and answer session with the judges.

Other competitors:
  • Karyme Garcia, Acadiana High. Karyme’s company, PAW, short for Pets Always Wanting, is a phone app that connects compatible pets with owners;
  • Bryce Daigle, Northside High. Bryce’s company, Thought Bubble, is a phone app that connects young people suffering from depression and extreme anxiety with therapists via facetime at no cost;
  • Jeanie Clash, Northside High. Jeanie’s company, BouJee, is a solar-powered cell phone charger that’s affordable and comes in a variety of colors for easy accessorizing with daily clothes changes;
  • Gaige Cosper and Adam Demette, Acadiana High. Cosper’s and Demette’s company, Food Hack, is a phone app that screens restaurants’ food selections for individuals’ tastes, allergies and budgets.