By Noemi Almodovar, Denver HBIAB Fellow
In its last year as Montbello High School, seniors at this Denver Public School presented their business ideas to a panel of HOPE Business In A Box (HBIAB) judges last week. As a 2009 Montbello graduate, I had the true privilege of teaching
Operation HOPE’s HBIAB curriculum in its entirety as well as facilitating the business pitch competition, an opportunity that allowed me to get to know my fellow Montbello Warriors and community youth.
With the support of Intro to Business teacher, Rhonda Albers, Principal Larry Irvin and multiple other teachers and staff members, the future entrepreneurs were fully prepared and incredibly eager to participate in the after-school pitch competition. Not only did they impress with their presentations, the entire staff and student body moved our pitch judges through their love for one another and sense of community—characteristics that were evident throughout each HBIAB class session.
There was a wide spectrum of ability levels and experience, the students aided each other in completing the program, supporting their courageous peers who overcame public speaking anxieties and learning challenges, and gave each other constructive feedback during practice pitch presentations—not to mention the number of students who stayed after school to support their classmates and friends during the actual pitch competition.
The four winning businesses included Fash Rehash, an online up-cycled clothing store created by two creative young women; Roy’s PCs, a computer repair and rebuilding business created by a student who has already rebuilt and repaired computers for a profit in the past; Shield Roofing, a roofing assessment business by a young man with years of experience through his father’s business; finally, Ayme’es Mix, created by a young woman who makes her own natural perfumes and body lotions.