McKee starts business pitch competition for Rhode Island students

PROVIDENCE – Lt. Gov. Dan McKee is launching a new business-pitch competition for high school students to compete for $9,000 in scholarship prizes.

The competition, dubbed the “Lt. Governor Entrepreneurship Challenge,” is designed to encourage young entrepreneurs and give them an opportunity to compete for post-secondary school scholarships. McKee modeled it after a similar program in Kentucky.

“We want the [challenge] to send a strong message to young business-minded students in our state: we believe in you, we realize your potential and we want you to have the tools to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams right here in Rhode Island,” McKee said in a prepared statement.

The challenge is sponsored by the Credit Unions of Rhode Island and Millennial RI, a young professionals group.

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“We hope to elevate eager entrepreneurial-minded students on their journey to success,” said Aiyah Josiah-Faeduwor, executive director of Millennial RI.

Rhode Island high-school students interested in competing must submit a business plan outlining a vision by May 25. McKee’s office on June 5 will announce five students to advance and compete in a final competition: a business-pitch event like the popular ABC TV series “Shark Tank.”

The credit union association through Millennial RI will give out a combined $9,000 in scholarships to the five students based on performance. No state funds will go toward the competition.

“Credit unions believe in educating our youth in all sorts of areas, whether it be financial literacy or the business world,” said Paul Gentile, president and CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association. “It’s important to get them thinking about the future and we want them to have the confidence to pursue their dream.”

The final event is scheduled for Aug. 18. The awards are as follows:

  • 1st place – $4,000 scholarship
  • 2nd place – $2,000 scholarship
  • 3rd place – $1,500 scholarship
  • 4th place – $1,000 scholarship
  • 5th place – $500 scholarship

Eli Sherman is a PBN staff writer. Email him at, or follow him on Twitter @Eli_Sherman.