Rotary Club Enjoys Business Plan Competition

Photo by Zane Hill / Outlook San Marino High School students Kristin Yam, Melvin Adams, Leo Li, Charisse Chow, Carson Giles and Nigel Landon competed last week in Rotary Club of San Marino’s annual business plan competition, taking several minutes to pitch their entrepreneurial proposals to the club.
Photo by Zane Hill / Outlook
San Marino High School students Kristin Yam, Melvin Adams, Leo Li, Charisse Chow, Carson Giles and Nigel Landon competed last week in Rotary Club of San Marino’s annual business plan competition, taking several minutes to pitch their entrepreneurial proposals to the club.

A pitch for mechanical pencil rental stations operated through a mobile application earned first-place attention from Rotary Club of San Marino’s panel of judges for the organization’s annual business plan competitions.
San Marino High School students Nigel Landon and Carson Giles now prepare to take their pitch — titled “Jot” — to the larger business plan competition on Thursday, April 18, at Huntington Middle School; they’ll be joined by their SMHS peers Charisse Chow and Leo Li, whose pitch for an on-the-go durable makeup line “Drip Cosmetics” took second place last week. The top two winners from South Pasadena High School and Arcadia High School will compete with them there.
Landon and Giles also won $300 in “start-up” money for their enterprise, with Chow and Li receiving $200. Kristin Yam took third place with her pitch on “Techy,” a modular backpack designed to accommodate on-the-move users of computers and cameras, and Melvin Adams took fourth place with “RELAY,” an app to securely accommodate the mainstream application of digital currency.
Rotarian Isaac Hung, in introducing the competition, lauded it as being “always an exciting event” for the club.
“I think this is a great experience for all the students and, no matter how they’re ranked, I wish them all the best,” he said. “This is a very difficult process for the judges because they’re all great and wonderful ideas and presentations.”
Students’ presentations included what unique niche the product was meant to fill, how the products would be marketed and what sort of capital was needed for start-up costs.
With Jot, Landon and Giles said they would install “Jot Boxes” in places like school libraries or office buildings, where people could locate them via app and rent a proprietary mechanical pencil meant to be returned at the end of the day, lest the renter face a late fee. The idea, they said, was to cater to students or office workers who were situationally in need of a pencil but not in the bulk usually found in brick-and-mortar stores.
“Students frequently lose their pencils or other school products throughout the year, and oftentimes they only need one or two throughout the week,” Giles, a senior, explained. “Jot is beneficial because it is easily accessible and provides students with a cheap office supply solution. Instead of spending all of your money on a large amount of office supplies, you have this.”
The Jot Box would function essentially like a small CNC machine that produces, dispenses and collects the writing utensil.
“Jot Box is the centralized unit that stores everything,” Landon, a senior, said. “It is based inside a library and is designed like a toothpick dispenser with a specialized mechanical return check.”
Chow, a senior, explained that Drip Cosmetics would give consumers makeup products made to handle being jostled around while traveling and designed to have modular use. Conventional makeup, she said, is usually based on relatively fragile ingredients that crumble easily.
“Our product is very compact, it won’t break and it is dual ended so that it can be multipurpose,” Li, a junior, said, with Chow adding, “When your product runs out, you can replace it rather than buying another product. You can interchange the brush head for a specific product.”
With Techy, Yam, a senior, hopes to make it as simple as possible for people to use their computer or camera equipment without having to upend and reassemble the backpacks carrying them. Her backpacks would be designed to allow the backpacks to essentially function like cases, with adaptable attachments for things like tripods available.
“With technology, there’s a lot of stuff to carry,” she said. “This would be one centralized place to carry all of it. The target audience would be technology and photography majors, as well as those who like to travel and document their trip.”
Adams, a junior, capitalized on well-publicized issues with data privacy in pitching his idea and also hopes to tackle abuses of copyright laws in digital content production and the failures of centralized currency management.
“There are numerous issues with our current society,” he explained. “We can see how large digital corporations such as Facebook and Google are installing third-party cookies so they can track your user data and sell it. You can see how you are their product.”

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