SEED Student Places in Top Ten in National Business Plan Competition

Published on Monday July 18, 2005

Dominic Piazza, a participant in last summer Summer Engineering Experience @ Drexel (SEED) program, and his Norristown Area High School team placed in the top ten in the E-Commerce Business Plan competition at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) held by DECA, an association of marketing students.

The team business plan is based on a fictional company called ExtremeBikes.com, which uses advanced materials to manufacture BMX and chopper bicycles.

Ideas for the team project came from Piazza recollection of the fascinating summer he spent at Drexel learning about different fields of engineering in the SEED program. SEED is a week-long summer program for high school students run by Drexel?s College of Engineering. The program is dedicated to teaching students about the exciting world of engineering through hands-on learning. Piazza was especially intrigued by what he learned from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

"I remembered the materials science and engineering portion of the SEED program and how exciting the cutting-edge research being done in that field was," said Piazza.

Piazza shared what he learned at Drexel with his team members, Peter Duong and Thomas Wrigley, and DECA teacher John Shaw. The team then contacted Amy Campbell, outreach and recruitment coordinator for the College of Engineering, who put them in touch with materials science and engineering professor Dr. Frank Ko and materials graduate student Nick Titchenal. Ko and Titchenal worked with the team to help guide them towards their project.

"Both Dr. Ko and Nick have been extremely helpful to our project," Piazza said. Their patience and ability to explain high-tech, complex concepts to us, such as nanotechnology, has been a big boost to our project. We are very grateful for their time and help.

The E-Commerce Business Plan event was part of the International Career Development Conference, an annual conference where students compete in marketing occupation-based competitive events for national recognition. This year's conference took place on April 29, 2005 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. The E-Commerce category gives teams the opportunity to research and design a plan to start or to enhance a component of an existing e-commerce business through research, a written proposal, and a solicitation for funding from a venture capital firm. The competition includes a ten minute presentation in front of a panel of judges with a five minute questioning period, along with a review of the written report.

In early March, the team competed in the state competition in Hershey, PA, finishing in second place and winning an all expense paid trip to Anaheim, CA for the national competition. ExtremeBikes.com finished in fifth place in the E-Commerce Business Plan Event category out of 112 teams hailing from every state and Canada.

This project was one of the best experiences of our lives, Piazza remarked. We learned so much, experienced many new things, and met a ton of new people. Although we put a lot of work into this project on our own, we feel that it wouldnt have turned out half as good if it wasnt for the help we received from our teacher and from Nick and Dr. Ko at Drexel. Their support throughout our whole project and expertise was a tremendous asset to our team. Nick and Dr. Ko gave us both a great understanding of this advanced technology and treated us with respect. It is because of this that we are so grateful to Nick, Dr. Ko, Ms. Campbell, and all of Drexel.

For more information on the Department of Materials Science and Engineering - click here

For more information on Drexel SEED program - click here

For more information on DECA and the ICDC - click here

Tagged as Awards