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High School's Entrepreneurial Challenge

The Oyster Bay High School Library was a packed house on Wednesday, March 26, for an introduction to the second annual Nassau County Business Development challenge. Sponsored by County Comptroller George Maragos’ office, the contest involves 200 business students from across the county competing for scholarships and prizes from various sponsors. Students will work in teams pooling their most innovative and brilliant ideas together to showcase mock business plans for the redevelopment of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Plaza.

“We want to see these students’ brilliant ideas and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Maragos. “I am very excited to hear all of their final plans at our special presentation event on April 9 at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive Legislature Building.”

Oyster Bay High School Business teacher Tara Beal said that she has a total of 26 students working in three teams involved in the Challenge.

“My students have been working for a month, learning the parts of a business plan, doing a ton of research, putting together the statistical data, focusing on their target market and working on their pitch,” said Beal. “For our students to be able to conceptualize a successful business idea, create a full-fledged business plan using actual data and statistics and then present it to a panel of individuals who are industry professionals is unparalleled.”

One of those students is 11th-grader Lia Kakoulidis, who is familiar with the process after competing in last year’s Comptroller’s Challenge.

“Last year’s experience expanded my knowledge of the business world, taught me how to work coherently in a group, improved my presentation skills and provided me with the necessary abilities for success in my future,” said Kakoulidis. “In my second year I’m going to help to guide my team with this knowledge.”

One of her new teammates is Dana Galgano, who said that she hopes her team’s ideas for new businesses come to fruition to benefit the people of Nassau County.  

“This challenge has taught me about leadership, organization and communication,” said Galgano. “It is an exciting opportunity to create what we feel would be a successful business in our community.”

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dennis O’Hara, who was at the introductory event, said that the Challenge incorporates many aspects of learning and growth.

“It inspires creativity in student learning, helps them function as a team and these skills that they learn are transferable throughout their future,” said O’Hara.

In the competition, which takes place on April 9 at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive Legislature Building in Mineola from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., students will have 10 minutes to convince a panel of expert judges that their business plan is feasible and would be successful at the plaza of the new Nassau Veteran’s Coliseum.

“The development around the Coliseum will be one of the largest projects in the county,” said Maragos.“The Challenge will provide students with an exciting opportunity to come up with innovative and youthful business ideas.”

Winning prizes will include $10,000 scholarships to Hofstra or Adelphi Universities and cash prizes from various agencies including Healthplex and Jzanus Home Care.