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Bright Lights, Big Prizes

A student from Waterloo Columbus High School was recently named the state’s top high school entrepreneur in a contest sponsored by the University of Iowa and the accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Brianna Farley won a total of $2,000 and an invitation to Ernst & Young’s annual entrepreneur conference in Kansas City in June for winning the Quick Pitch Biz Plan Competition earlier this month. Her business, Brianna’s Bright Lights, is a full-service holiday lights design, installation, and storage business in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area.

The Quick Pitch Biz Plan competition is for any Iowa high school student with an idea, innovation, or existing business. Students submit business plans in the fall and spring, and cash prizes are awarded for the students who have the best business plan and make the best elevator pitch during each season. Those winners then compete for the grand prize.

The competition is overseen by the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in the UI’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

Spring 2013 winners:

First place ($1,500): Kelly Full, Granville Spalding High School, Ag Note MAX. An all-in-one app for farmers that includes the weather forecast, soil sample reports, yield trackers, and more. The app is currently in the development phase and is expected to be available for purchase in June 2013.

Second place ($1,000): Connor Alne, Manson Northwest Webster High School, Craarc. Sells a signature clothing line of T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, crewnecks, and yoga pants.

Third place ($500): Nolan Navara, Clear Creek-Amana High School, Nolan’s Lawn Care. Provides various lawn care services.

Fall 2012 winners:

First place ($1,500): Jacob Pajunen, Dustin Gwee, & Devin Gwee, Iowa City High School, Mischief’s Apparel. Designs, produces, and sells original T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats, using screen-printing and embroidery.

Second place ($1,000): Brianna Farley, Waterloo Columbus High School, Brianna’s Bright Lights. See above.

Third place ($500): Mitchell Nemac, Prairie High School College Community School District, Big Buck’s Creations. Manufactures products and creations using new and used horseshoes.

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