3 Budding Entrepreneurs Share Their Innovative Ideas in a Fast-Paced Pitch Competition 

With the chance to win up to $1,000, students brought their A-game to this fast-paced new-venture competition!

On August 26, 2023, Mindset & Milestones held a virtual pitch competition: a dynamic challenge designed to bring together budding entrepreneurs and social innovators to pitch startup ideas. 

Anai Toledo took home the first-place prize with an idea she developed as an 8th-grader.

To watch the pitch competition, click the video below!

3 finalists were chosen out of 50 applicants, Anai Toledo (she/her), Jaydee Phung (she/her), and King North (they/he pronouns).

Our first-place winner, Anai Toledo, is a high school freshman but began working on her idea as an 8th grader. She represented Girls Inc. Los Angeles, where she was able to spend time developing her business venture. 

She received $1,000 for her idea, Pixan Jitchman, a cultural center in Los Angeles for Maya Q’anjob’al and Indigenous peoples originating from Guatemala. She was the youngest finalist of the group and blew the judges away with her innovative idea, wonderful articulation of her cultural traditions, and pride in her community. The video to the left is her original pitch submission.

Anai envisions a place filled with dance studios, recording studios, and art rooms that would be available to reserve for Mayan cultural dance groups to rehearse, local Mayan artists to create, and Marimbistas to write and record their songs.

Her passion was clear throughout the pitch, and her idea to create a space that allows her Mayan community to represent and express themselves through various artistic outlets provides an innovative way to bring people together to honor and celebrate their cultural heritage. 

Students, grades 6-12, had the opportunity to…

  • Learn essential business and entrepreneurship fundamentals
  • Network and collaborate with a community of high-achieving students interested in entrepreneurship
  • Hone their business analysis, presentation, design thinking, and ideating skills
  • Present their pitch to be judged by seasoned industry professionals! 

The finalists also received one-on-one mentorship prior to the competition from Diondraya Taylor, the founder of Mindset & Milestones, and the sponsor of the competition. 

We are grateful for our 3 amazing judges who provided these students with valuable professional feedback in order to help them grow and enhance their ideas. 

Joanna Reynolds, the Assistant Director and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Startup UCLA is “an economic development professional passionate about equitable economic development and supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs.” 

Carrie Phair has over 15 years of experience in the Marketing sector and is a Brand and Marketing Maven at Stated Marketing. She is passionate about creating authentic brand stories and helping businesses create meaningful engagements with their customers. 

Deanna Evans was the former Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at Startup UCLA and is skilled in program development, strategic planning, budget management, coaching entrepreneurs, and, supporting the development of entrepreneurial communities.  

Students were judged on the basis of the following pitch competition criteria: 

  1. INNOVATION - How novel their idea is and differentiated from the competition
  2. OPPORTUNITY - How they plan to capitalize on the market opportunity of their idea 
  3. CLARITY - How effectively and thoroughly they are able to explain their idea
  4. FEASIBILITY - The technology, resources, and/or expertise required to bring the idea to life is realistic
  5. SCALABILITY - The business model makes a compelling argument for commercial viability and scalability, with the potential for mass adoption
  6. COMMUNICATION - The pitch is persuasive, informative, and presented with great interest and enthusiasm

We are eager to see how Anai expands on this idea and wish her the best of luck in all of her future entrepreneurial endeavors! 

To read about the other 2 finalists, CLICK HERE!

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We create materials to help teachers provide youth with entrepreneurial skills! Our curriculum not only empowers youth but also gives educators the tools to lead entrepreneurial experiences in their own programs, classrooms, and more.
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