Greencastle-Antrim High School students Collin Griffin, Clare Hudak and Matt Lynerd want to take the "stress, guesswork and waste out of home renovation."
That entrepreneurial idea will see them pitted against 49 other teams of students from about 25 countries during the Diamond Challenge finals next weekend at the University of Delaware.
According to its website "The Diamond Challenge provides a unique opportunity for teens to learn about entrepreneurship while putting their ideas into action. While many entrepreneurship programs focus on principles of small business management, the Diamond Challenge focuses on unleashing creativity, encouraging a mindset of abundance and self-determination, and promoting purposeful entrepreneurial action."
In addition to the competition, the Diamond Challenge Youth Entrepreneurship Summit April 13 to 15 will feature a gala, a variety of speakers and networking opportunities.
The initial field of 600 written plans from around the world was narrowed to 150 for regional competition. The G-A trio bested 20 teams in "shark-tank" style competition when they pitched their idea on Feb. 28 (Clare's birthday) at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. They will use part of their $1,000 prize to pay for the trip to Delaware, where they will vie for $10,000 in the form of scholarships or business investment.
Collin and Matt, both now seniors, were members of the G-A team that won the first Franklin County Business Challenge last year. Clare wasn't an official member of the team, but she provided input and sewed the bags for their Grean Bag: Grean Seats, Clean World entry.
"Winning last year inspired us to look beyond to stiffer competition. We wanted to challenge ourselves further so we followed through," Collin said. "This is supposedly the highest level business competition ... the Olympics of high school entrepreneurship."
They had a whiteboard filled with ideas last spring, according Clare, who is in 11th grade. It was her family's remodeling projects — and the multiple trips to Lowe's they generate, sometimes for one forgotten item — that inspired the team.
Their idea is web-based, user-friendly software that allows people to design a renovation. It would automatically generate a plan and provide a list of tools and materials, along with instructions, such as where to cut boards. There also will be links with instructional YouTube videos and assembly instructions.
"We are going to bridge the gap between the novice renovator and the seasoned professional," Clare said.
They have met via conference with the mentor assigned for the Diamond Challenge, Nafis Azad who is the CEO of Ghost Lab.
"He had a lot of great insight and advice and the students have been keeping him posted of their progress," according to Eric Brennan, G-AHS STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), who is mentoring them locally along with retired businessman Jack Scott, who also helped the G-A Franklin County Business Challenge team last year.
There also have been "countless teachers who helped in their own specialties," such as checking the proposal for grammar, and a group of about 15 who came in to critique their presentation.
The team is also surveying as many people as possible to gather data to include in their research. Their three-minute questionnaire can be found at:
They also are planning to give their presentation at this Thursday's school board meeting.