DUBOIS, Pa. — The North Central PA LaunchBox helped to make the end of the school year memorable for two students from DuBois Area High School. Peyton Kifer and Abigail Riffe, both 14 years old, were named winners in the inaugural LaunchBox “Dare to Dream” competition. Kifer took first place and Riffe second place in this pilot program that sought out ideas for new products or business ideas that would support the local economy.
The winners received prizes including Visa gift cards and T-shirts. Kifer claimed $300 in gift cards for his first place idea, and Riffe took home $200 in gift cards for her idea. These prizes were funded by the Fairman Family Foundation through the LaunchBox Endowment.
Kifer’s pitch was for his Rainy Day Bracelet Co., specializing in the sale of homemade bracelets that he taught himself to make during the pandemic quarantine. He said he plans to expand his line into key chains and necklaces while promoting sales online.
Riffe's business idea is Little Beavers Babysitting. Her plan includes a web-based management system through which she can hire babysitters and match them with busy parents in need of childcare.
The Dare to Dream program was broken down into four components: application submittal, workplan development, pitch training, and finale. Both finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges made up of the Clearfield County Commissioners Antonio Scotto, John Sobel and Dave Glass in a virtual presentation via Zoom.
Penn State DuBois Chancellor M. Scott McBride said, “I was really impressed with the students and their ideas, as well as their ability to present those ideas well. It’s no small task to do this.”
The aim of the program is to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in area youth that they will carry throughout their lives and careers. LaunchBox Director Brad Lashinsky said they hope to expand the program to four to six schools next year.
He explained, “With this being a pilot program and dealing with COVID-19 protocols in the school district I learned what we need to do next year to improve on this program and am excited to do so. I feel the district and the students were great to virtually work with, and they continue to be extremely supportive in seeing this program grow.”