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March 17th, 2021

High School Students from the Velocities Region with Competition

By Rachel Smith, Communications Specialist

Entrepreneurship can start at any age, and teens are definitely finding ways to turn their passion into a business. In fact, a study from Junior Achievement and Ernst & Young LLP (EY) showed that 41% of teens would consider entrepreneurship as a career option, versus working in a traditional job. Young entrepreneurs are creative, resilient and tech-savvy—all advantages for beginning the entrepreneurial journey.

Recently, two high school students in the Velocities region took top prizes in the Maverick Challenge, a high school business planning competition coordinated by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. This year, 280 high school students from Bartholomew, Dearborn, Franklin, Jackson, Jennings, Monroe, and Scott counties participated in the program, with nine students pitching their business plans at the regional finals.

The 2020-2021 regional winners from the Velocities region:

  • Jesse Kogge and his team, who are Dimension Mill members in Bloomington, took first place with a $1,500 prize. The team’s business idea, AR Odyssey, is an educational app that incorporates augmented reality and is designed to teach computer science to 10- to 13-year-olds. AR Odyssey will use the funds to utilize its current prototype in a demo in schools in order to receive feedback and finalize the product’s design.



  • Trey Nebergall, a Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce member at 17, was awarded $1,000 for second place with Aspire Group, a full-service real estate media company that provides high-quality media such as listing photos and video services to real estate agents. Aspire Group plans to use the funds for marketing and custom clothing and print designs to help get in front of more brokers and realtors.


The Maverick Challenge began in 2008 and has awarded more than $100,000 to students. The initiative provides students with insights into starting a business, business concepts, and opportunities to interact with the business community. Participants complete an online curriculum that helps them take their idea from a concept to a developed business plan. In addition, they work with local mentors to help improve their business plans and then pitch to judges at both the county and regional levels. Many local business owners and founders stepped up to mentor the students, including Adam Quirk from Cardinal Spirits who mentored the AR Odyssey team.

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