Press Releases

Council for Opportunity in Education Partners with Nucleus to Host Pitch Competition for Student Entrepreneurs

January 25, 2022

Students in the Federally Funded TRIO and GEAR UP Programs are Eligible to Pitch Business Plans for Funding to Support Their Entrepreneurship.

The nonprofit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) announced today a partnership initiative with Nucleus, LLC to establish and co-host a virtual pitch competition for students in the Federal TRIO or GEAR UP programs. TRIO programs help low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities gain access to and succeed in college.

"Hosting this pitch competition with COE furthers our mission to enhance education through activity-based learning," said James Prince, director of TRIO partnerships at Nucleus. “Our goal is for each TRIO student to graduate with a degree and develop the skills and knowledge needed to achieve financial success. We believe this is essential for transforming local communities and increasing equity in our society."

Students grow up in a highly technological age and spend most of every day using technology. They value experiential learning, and this competition encourages an entrepreneurial, hands-on approach. The partnership aims to provide students opportunities to succeed in STEM-based fields and other industries.

The program will grant TRIO and GEAR UP students an opportunity to compete for prizes and scholarships while sharpening core business practices for success. Students enrolled in TRIO, or GEAR UP will compete in either a pre-college category (ages 13-15) or pre-college/college category (ages 16 and above) and deliver a three-minute presentation on a business idea to a review panel. The presentations will illustrate the students' business models, branding ideas, possible finance, and growth potential.

College students who win first place may apply award funds to tuition, fees, and books or use the money for their business. Those who apply the awards to their business will receive additional mentorship to help students jump-start their businesses.

"The most important thing that TRIO students can learn is that their potential is limitless. That's why the Council is delighted to partner with Nucleus on this student pitch competition," said Maureen Hoyler, president of COE. "We look forward to hearing about the business ideas of young entrepreneurs and are proud to help make their visions reality."

The virtual competition will take place Saturday, April 23.