A total of $3,000 is up for grabs for aspiring high school entrepreneurs.

Chatham-Kent Economic Development and the Small Business Centre are challenging local area high school students in Grades 9 to 12 to create a two minute video that showcases their business idea in order to be entered in a contest that can see them earn a variety of prizes including up to $3,000 to start their business.

The Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition, which is presented by Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Government of Ontario, is an annual contest designed to help inspire and educate the next generation of business owners and leaders.

“This is an excellent opportunity for students to take an idea or a dream that they have been thinking about and start to turn it into a reality,” stated Rosemarie Montgomery, Business Consultant with the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre, in a media release.

“With access to smart phones, tablets, and other technology, it’s become easier than ever for students to record a short video and enter the contest.”

In 2018, a total of 200 videos were submitted from students across Ontario with a selection of 20 finalists identified and six total winners chosen, including a student from the neighbouring Kingsville area.

“When you consider that one in ten videos were selected as finalists, the odds are very good for students in Chatham-Kent that they could be submitting a winning idea,” added Montgomery.

“I would love to see Chatham-Kent students, parents, and schools getting behind this competition and pitching hundreds of business ideas.”

According to the Make Your Pitch website, a variety of tips for a successful video include summarizing your idea in a sentence, highlighting its benefits and what makes it unique.

Also be sure to explain how you came up with the idea, how it will help your customers, and how the business will be profitable. Visuals such as props, sketches, and prototypes are encouraged to help demonstrate your idea and bring it to life.

Videos are judged through a combination of online public voting and expert judges’ scores. Finalists are awarded a trip to the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery event, named Canada’s Best Trade Show in 2016, and 2017, and is celebrating 14 years of bold, new ideas.

Winners will each receive a prize pack that includes a reserved space in the Summer Company program, business plan development and consultation, mentorship, and an award of up to $3,000 to start their business.

Montgomery added: “Every student who enters has the potential to become a business owner, create new local jobs, and be a future economic leader in Chatham-Kent.”

Deadline for video entries is March 22, 2019. For more information on the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch program and to submit your video, visit www.makeyourpitch.ca.