OVERWHELMED AND OPTIMISTIC
Currently, over 100 judges are reviewing two-minute videos and the business summaries we have received from Montana students across the State competing in the 2022 Prospects Business Pitch Competitions.
This year we have 117 submissions from high school students and 22 submissions from middle school students!
The Prospects is an annual statewide entrepreneurship competition facilitated by the Montana Chamber Foundation with scholarships and cash prizes for Montana students’ new ideas and existing small businesses, leading to opportunities for mentoring, internships, apprenticeships, and work-based learning.
This contest finds, celebrates, and rewards Montana’s future business leaders by providing them with incentives, mentorship, and advanced entrepreneurial skills. Students also learn and practice opportunity thinking, teamwork, leadership skills, show their passions, motivations, and display verbal/written communications.
Business leaders, including the Montana Chamber’s Boards of Directors, are seeing first-hand how our Youth Entrepreneurs are thinking and displaying economic principles-in-practice.
CONNECTING EDUCATORS TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
One of the most significant challenges to developing employable skills and an entrepreneurial mindset has been the lack of connectivity between the education and business communities. A few of our partner educators have noted the following:
“The biggest challenge is finding TIME on both sides. Somehow, I need to make the this happen because building connections between my students with business leaders in the community is a win/win for everyone. The Chamber could help by investing in a curriculum like this and making it available to teachers in Montana.” — Jody Sandru, Twin Bridges, Montana
“I find it easy to reach people on a local level, but we are in a very small town, and I find it challenging to reach out to larger community’s business leaders mostly because I don’t have the connections.” — Shirley Dyer, Winifred, Montana
“Many business leaders do not have children in our schools, or never have, so they are lacking a connection with our community youth.” — Heather Gray, Ronan, Montana
The Montana Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to forging these partnerships and training young entrepreneurs and business leaders, and the success of the Prospects programs has proved valuable to students, educators, and the business community.
AWARDS SHOW: SAVE-THE-DATE
On April 22, 2022, at 12:00pm, we will announce winners of the $75,000 Prize Purse, including $39,000 in cash prizes, $21,000 in scholarships to Montana colleges and universities.
We also have local prizes focused on supporting students’ ideas by connecting them with leaders in their own communities.
Thank you to our outstanding judges. We have over 70 business leaders who have volunteered their time to help judge The Prospects. With 139 submissions and needing multiple eyes on each submission, we literally could not do this without them. We appreciate their time and willingness to support the students and their entrepreneurial spirit.
Thank you to our lead sponsor, Stockman Bank. And our cash prize sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield, Empowered, Sibanye Stillwater, Jobs for Montana Graduates, Two Bear Capital, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance, and the Montana Auto Dealers Association.
Travel opportunities provided by Alaska Airline Tickets, and work-based learning experiences in Drones & Data sponsored by RDO Equipment Co. and multiple Apple Application development support opportunities from Blackfoot Communications and C2MBeta.
Scholarships and cash prizes provided by Miles Community College, Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, the MSU College of Agriculture, and the Maurice Hilleman Scholars Program, MSU Billings College of Business, Gallatin College, UM Western in Dillon, and Flathead Valley Community College.
Local prizes provided by the City of Bozeman Economic Development Office, the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, the Great Falls Economic Development Authority.
Mentorship and support is also being provided by the Beaverhead County Chamber of Commerce and the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce.