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Triad young entrepreneur places in national pitch competition

Baylie Roberts showcases her business E&K Alliances at the April 30 CEO Trade Show at Old Herald in Collinsville. Roberts pitched her business in a recent marketing competition hosted by the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship and landed in the Top 18 of entries. (Photo courtesy of Triad High School)

Times-Tribune staff

Baylie Roberts, a Triad High School student and a participant of the Collinsville Triad Maryville CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program recently placed in the Top 18 in a national pitch competition.

Roberts competed alongside more than 390 high-school-aged entrepreneurs in the 2023 National Pitch Competition for a share of $10,000 in cash and other prizes. The competition invited CEO participants to share individual businesses on a national platform and compete for cash prizes that can be invested back into their concepts, according to a news release.

Roberts created E&K Alliances, a business which sells sensory boards along with autism themed bracelets. In the competition, she shared her business through a recorded, 30-second video, which was taken in one continuous shot and then uploaded to a secure platform for judging.

Submissions for the competition were reviewed by a community of over 70 CEO stakeholders from across the country comprised of CEO board members, CEO Alumni, local business owners, and mentors. The scores that the pitches received from these individuals helped rank the top 30 pitches. The final winners were then selected by a panel of three judges.

With the award, Roberts receives $100 in cash prizes that can be invested back into her concept, as well as an experiential learning opportunity with Kristen Hades and other resources to support her in their entrepreneurial journey.

The competition is hosted by the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship. Executive Director Austin Brooks said the event is a reflection of the hard work youth entrepreneurs have put into the conceptualization and creation of their businesses throughout the year.

“Some of these students will take their business beyond the program, others will take the skills they learned into another business and be outstanding entrepreneurs, but all of them have gained valuable life and business experience by creating these businesses and learning how to communicate effectively through their pitches,” Brooks said.

The CEO program is an accredited entrepreneurship education course available to Seniors from Collinsville High School, Triad High School, Maryville Christian School and Father McGivney Catholic High School.

Throughout the school year, the CEO program takes students out of the classroom and into local businesses, allowing them to meet with community leaders, exposing them to over 100 guest speakers, and providing them with mentors who coach them through the process of starting and running a business.

Participants receive school credit for the program, as well as dual credit which is accepted at Southwestern Illinois College.

Funding for the nonprofit program comes from financial pledges from local businesses and donations from other individual and group community investors.



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