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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 2:40 am | Fair 54º


San Marcos Entrepreneurship Academy Students Win High School Division of New Venture Challenge

Dakota Crowley, First Place for Surf Alert; Ana Avalos and Mildred Salazar, Second Place for Dulce Cultura; Jessie Lindsey, Honorable Mention for Urban Trade.
Dakota Crowley, First Place for Surf Alert; Ana Avalos and Mildred Salazar, Second Place for Dulce Cultura; Jessie Lindsey, Honorable Mention for Urban Trade. (San Marcos High School photo)

San Marcos High School Entrepreneurship Academy students took the top awards handed out in the Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge last Friday, April 29, 2016, at Santa Barbara City College.

The panel of judges awarded Surf Alert first place and Dulce Cultura second place. Urban Trade also received an honorable mention award.

Created by Dakota Crowley, Tore Harlan, JR Manar and Paul Robitaille, Surf Alert is a website and app that provides accurate surf reports and alerts surfers when ideal conditions are met at their favorite spots so they never miss a session. The team received $1,000 and college scholarship money.

Dulce Cultura, founded by Ana Avalos and Mildred Salazar creates fresh, organic aguas frescas drinks while spreading Latino-American culture and refreshing the body and soul with a sweet and tropical taste. The team received $600 and college scholarships.

Urban Trade founder Jessie Lindsey created the idea for an online platform to buy and sell used clothing treasures from “one sister to the next.” Young women can seek unique pieces of attire and make money by passing along their once cherished clothing while keeping clothing out of landfills.

The Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge is an annual business plan competition sponsored by Santa Barbara City College. Students create a business plan for a new venture and submit it to a panel of judges made up of community executives, bankers, investors and entrepreneurs.

Seven of the academy’s eleven teams were selected for the final pitch competition. The other four finalists were Concert Goer from JT Tomlinson; Space Case from Chad Sorensen, Max Cardenas, Jorge Ruiz and Andrew Kim; Amor Mundial from Wesley Glenn and Brian Eddy; and ​TrailTrek from Taylor Lund and Aaron Songer.

A member of each team had eight minutes to pitch their business with a slide deck and two minutes to answer questions from the panel, much like the popular television show Shark Tank.

“I am so proud of all our seniors,” said Entrepreneurship Academy Director Alex Sheldon. “It has been amazing watching their growth over the past three years and seeing them apply themselves to creating their businesses. I’m happy the judges recognized the vision and planning that went into their submissions.”

Students participating in the New Venture Challenge from San Marcos are all seniors and members of the first graduating class of the Entrepreneurship Academy.

Over three years, academy students complete college level courses in marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and economics and receive public speaking coaching.

Students finish the academy by taking a business plan development course and submitting their business plans to the New Venture Challenge.

Alex Sheldon is the director of the San Marcos High School Entrepreneurship Academy.


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