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Square1’s NEXT High School Pitch event selects three top teams who win TMU scholarships

Square1 held its annual NEXT High School Final Pitch Event, providing opportunities for additional coaching, prizes, and startup support to participating students.

Three teams of stand-out students were selected by a panel of judges for top honors in the competition and as a result receive scholarships to Thomas More University, including first-place, full-tuition scholarships, second-place $25,000 scholarships, and third-place $22,000 scholarships.

Earning first place was team MatterhornONE, including students Alex Woods, Carson Floyd, and Colin Wilmhoff of Beechwood High School. All receive full-tuition scholarships to Thomas More University with their pitch that detailed an innovative, single-person tent design serving a social purpose.

Runners up in the pitch contest, team Fast Fashion, consisting of Holy Cross High School students Kennedie Welliver and Annalee Grout, who pitched a men’s quick pick-up accessory store.

Team WaitIN took home third place in the competition for their pitch about solving staffing issues for small restaurants by providing plug and play ordering software. Team WaitIN is made up of Theo Helton and Steven Weil from Covington Catholic High School.

Three young entrepreneurs awarded full-tuition scholarships to Thomas More University.

Thomas More University President Joseph L. Chillo, LP.D., was one of several honorees at the event, receiving the Entrepreneur Engagement Award in recognition of his commitment to providing life-changing scholarships to Thomas More University for the Square1 Next high school student finalists, as well as establishing the Dr. Anthony ’65 & Geraldine ’66 Zembrodt Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation at Thomas More, which will be housed in the newest academic center that is slated to begin construction this summer on the Crestview Hills campus.

“It was an honor to receive this recognition from Square1, who we have partnered with to make a difference in the lives of these young innovators,” says President Chillo. “Our newly established Dr. Anthony ’65 & Geraldine ’66 Zembrodt Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, as well as our new academic center, provides the ideal environment for these students to thrive with the support and guidance of the first-class faculty that we have here at Thomas More University.”

Other awards that evening included the Board Service Award to honoree Vincent Williams of Orchestrate Technologies and former board chair; the Impact Award to honoree Means Cameron, owner/Operator of the clothing brand Black Owned; the Collaborator Award to honoree Valerie Hardcastle, executive director of St. Elizabeth Healthcare Institute of Health Innovation and vice president for Health Innovation at Northern Kentucky University; the Entrepreneur Support Award to honoree Pat Longo, HCDC president; the Entrepreneur Leadership Award to honoree Tim McGee, former Bengal and entrepreneur; and the Community Innovator Award to honorees Oakley and Eva Farris, local philanthropists and longtime supporters of Thomas More University.

Square1’s NEXT program works with high school students by teaching them how innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset can change their life’s trajectory. Schools and students from across Greater Cincinnati participate in this region-wide innovation and work skills education and development program.

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