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Area High School Students to Compete in Thrown to the Wolves Competition


JONESBORO – The Delta Center for Economic Development (DCED) on the campus of Arkansas State University will host its second annual Thrown to the Wolves competition from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

This competition for high school students will be held in Centennial Hall of Reng Student Union.“Thrown to the Wolves is designed to further build the innovation and entrepreneurial culture and skillset of high school students as well as their connection and familiarity with Arkansas State University,” said Andrea Allen, DCED executive director.  The event will feature high school teams from Riverside High School, Buffalo Island Central High School, Hoxie High School, Walnut Ridge High School, Cross County High School, and Jonesboro High School.“The teams are expected to submit a business plan prior to the competition and pitch their product or idea at the competition while also answering probing questions from the judges,” added Allen.First-round judges include Jarrett Free, director of financial services for the East Arkansas Planning and Development District; Charles Walker, director of workforce development for ASU-Newport; and Dr. Rajesh Sharma, director of engineering technology and associate professor of renewable energy technology at A-State.“It takes a lot of courage for high school students to pitch their product ideas on a university campus in front of judges, but once they do, their confidence increases and it better prepares them for the future,” said Allen.

In a “Shark Tank”-style delivery, the teams will pitch their ideas and be judged on how their product or idea will solve a problem, products that already exist, and how they would move forward.“We will see projects that range from products that help individuals with disabilities to apps and software development,” she continued.Teams that reach the second round of competition will face local celebrity judges who return for a second year including Chad Neill, CEO of Tiger Correctional Services, Kristi Pulliam, owner of Ktizo Coaching and Consulting, and Manu Nair, CEO and founder of Aceone Technologies.Winners of the Thrown to the Wolves competition will take home cash and scholarship prizes.First, second and third place winners will receive a $500 scholarship for each team member, free workspace and a one-year membership to A-State Innovate.In addition, first-place winners will receive $1,000 for the team and $1,000 for their teacher sponsor. Second-place winners take home $500 for the team and $500 for their teacher sponsor. Third-place winners will receive $150 for the team and $150 for their teacher sponsor.Teams are also eligible to win a Pack Pick Award where attendees can vote for their favorite team. The award is $250, free workspace and a year-long membership to A-State Innovate.

Sponsors of the event include The Solutions Group, Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, Craighead Electric Cooperative Corp., Jonesboro Unlimited, and Entergy.

Thrown to Wolves