Fifteen Niles West DECA students attended the third-annual DECA Innovations in Entrepreneurship National Conference held in Chicago recently. More than 320 students from across the country attended the conference, taking part in workshops in the areas of opportunity recognition, financing, marketing, social entrepreneurship and sustainable entrepreneurship.
One activity at the conference is the Idea Challenge. DECA teams are given a scenarios and must deliver a five-minute presentation on that scenario to entrepreneurs, and business executives. This year’s challenge was to take a plastic grocery bag and create a new use for it while creating the most value possible. Students were evaluated on the following criteria: New use and value, innovation, creativity and critical thinking, feasible and sustainable idea, creative presentation, challenge assumptions about the item and ability to work effectively as a team.
For the second year in a row, a Niles West team earned a spot in the final Idea Competition Challenge Round. Out of 50 teams, Niles West was one of four teams chosen to present their idea to the entire conference. Niles West DECA students Amir Durkovic, Aid Idrizovic, Stephen Kim and Yakub Pirzada came up with the idea to recycle the plastic grocery bags into school supply kits for elementary school children.
For each supply kit ordered, their company would donate a kit to an underprivileged student. Bags would be collected at local schools in order to get students involved. The team researched their idea by interviewing an expert with 40-plus years of experience in the packaging design industry to determine the feasibility and reality of their idea.
Two other Niles West teams also competed at the DECA Idea Competition. Team 2: Jessie Amgalanjargal, Jessica Daczo, Michelle Marrougi, Joe Matuschka, Gaby Meheux and Brandon Moy. Team 3: Valya Borisova, Lois Le, Tezen Matthew, Faheem Qadir and Zayna Usman.