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Students Pitch Business Ideas at 6th Annual Sumter’s Future Entrepreneurs Competition

For Immediate Release

Contact: Casey Ferguson;

May 4, 2021

352-793-5719 ext 54210


Students Pitch Business Ideas at 6th Annual Sumter’s Future Entrepreneurs Competition

Bushnell, Florida – The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Sumter County as was evident at the “Shark Tank” style event that took place on Thursday, May 29, at the Wildwood Community Center.   Nearly 60 applications were submitted as startup business ideas to compete for cash prizes in the Sumter’s Future Entrepreneurs event!  All three Sumter County High Schools were represented in this sixth annual event: South Sumter High School; The Villages Charter High School; and Wildwood Middle High School.  The business plans first went through a round of rigorous online judging.  The top two projects from each school were then invited to pitch their concepts at a live event for cash awards.

The top two finalists from each school were then mentored by volunteers from Mid-Florida SCORE in preparation for their live presentations.  Mid-Florida Score mentors included David McCormick, Fred Streicher, Trish Collins, and Byron Zuidema.

In a “Shark-Tank” style setting, the top finalists made their pitches demonstrating their entrepreneurial potential.  The concepts were judged for creativity, innovation, market potential, competitive landscape, product clarity, and operational sustainability.  Bringing many years of business experience to the judges’ table, the three individuals who volunteered their time and expertise were most impressed!  The judges for the event were: Randy Reeder, AgeWave Solutions, Inc; Beth Hunt, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office; and Debbie Moffitt, Assistant Superintendent Sumter County Schools.


The culmination of the evening was the presentation of awards. Each school earned a 1st place ($1000) and a 2nd place ($500) award.  Award sponsors included:  T & D Pool and Spa Service; AgeWave Solutions, Inc; Alive2Thrive: The Santoro Foundation; The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office; Citizens First Bank; and RoMac Building Supply.

First Place Finalists were: 

South Sumter High School- Cori Riddell, Solar Lightning;

Cori Riddell

The Villages Charter High School- Olivia Williams, You Spend Me Right Round;

Olivia Williams

Wildwood Middle High School- Jaylyn Charpentier, Charpe Style Jewelry.

Jaylyn Carpenter

Each of these finalists receives a $1,000.00 cash prize from the award sponsors to further their entrepreneurship idea.

Olivia Williams from The Villages Charter School was also recognized as the overall winner and received an additional $100.00 prize.

Second Place Finalists were: South Sumter High- Abigail Derby-Wine, Mix and Mask; The Villages Charter High- Elisabeth Ngo, La Beautique; Wildwood Middle High- Calvin Hoopes, Speed Detailing. All second place finalists receives $500.00 from the award sponsors to further their entrepreneurship idea.


The third through fifth place finalists of the online competition from each school displayed posters outlining their business ideas and will receive $100 to further their Entrepreneurship plans for next year’s competition. The Display Finalists were: from South Sumter High School - Destiny and David Barnes (team), Auston Chisenhall, and Raelyn Simmons; from The Villages Charter High School –Cylie Reeder, Rebecca Spangler and Ashley Delezenne (team), and Magdalen Stansberry; from Wildwood Middle High School- Caleb Pickens and Austin Peavy (team), Nicole Vega Soto, and Randy “RJ” Mears.


Sumter School Superintendent Rick Shirley was very impressed by the student entrepreneurs.  He commented, “Congratulations to all of our entrepreneurial winners for a job well done. Also, a special thanks to our judges, sponsors, and planning committee members.”

Sumter businesses, agencies, and individuals generously supported the endeavor.  In addition to prize sponsors, the following agencies sponsored the event: The City of Wildwood donated the use of the Community Center for the event; Suncoast Credit Union sponsored meal costs for the finalists; Flutterby Field supplied the decorations for the evening, Tangent Media also supplied graphic upgrades for the competition. Sumter County schools is proud to partner with the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Lake and Sumter to host this event.


Sumter School District wishes to thank all those involved in making this another successful event as we press toward the goal of Preparing the Next Generation Today!