SOMERS — With an eye toward the future and a robust supply of imagination, a group of high school students recently came up with a business proposal that sounds like a state-of-the-art, transformative innovation.
Seven Racine Unified School District students recently earned accolades for a startup concept that caught the attention of leaders within a statewide organization.
For the first time, RUSD this year took part in the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce organization’s Mini Business World competition. About 250 high school students from across the district took part in the daylong event, held March 27 at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
The winning entrants — who banded together and hailed from Case, Park and Horlick high schools — proposed a business, Med App Inc., which would manufacture the would-be technology brand, Speedy End.
The business proposal revolved around an app that would rely on a user’s phone camera to scan his or her eyes and automatically detect the corrective lenses needed.
“We decided it would be a good idea to create the product, which would take a picture of your face,” said Case student Kyle Waiss, who assumed the role of chief executive officer in the exercise.
Waiss and his six teammates went as far as making a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a part of the exercise.
Case student Austin Carillo, who took on the role of chief marketing officer, said the idea was partially inspired by some of the challenges of current everyday life, particularly when it comes to visiting the eye doctor.
“This would make things easier,” Carillo said.
The team learned it won the competitive challenge at the end of the day.
“We were surprised that we won,” said Case student Ethan Shawhan. “There were some good ideas in the competition, but I feel like we did have something that was good.”
As winners, all seven teammates are being invited this summer to take part in the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s Business World Camp on a full scholarship.
“I think it will be a pretty cool experience,” said Case student Joshua Reyes. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Michelle Grajkowski, director of WMC’s Mini Business World competition, spoke to the Unified students at the end of the event and shared thoughts on preparing for life after high school.
“Do something today that your future self will thank you for,” Grajkowski said. “It’s always bigger than just today.”
Throughout her talk, Grajkowski also referenced football defensive end J. J. Watt, a Waukesha native who plays for the NFL's Houston Texans.
Grajkowski lauded Watt’s off-the-field displays of integrity and philanthropy, including raising funds for people displaced by Hurricane Harvey several years ago.
“He has a brand, and he lives by it,” Grajkowski told the students. “For him, it’s about more than just football.”