• GLENDALE, Ariz. – Four students from the Peoria Unified School District pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win a grand prize of up to $10,000. Each student who pitched a business idea made a compelling case for their company and won a portion of the grand prize.

    The following Peoria Unified students won a cash prize for their respective businesses:

    • Evan Guerrero, Liberty High School, $5,000 for BarterBase
    • Alena Munoz, Ironwood High School, $3,000 for Moments by Alena
    • Kaylin Bohm, Raymond S. Kellis High School, $1,000 for Queen for a Day
    • Christian Chavez, Peoria High School, $1,000 for Cre8or

    These young entrepreneurs began their business journey by attending “CoLab” sessions hosted by Arizona State University’s J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute. The institute, also known as “Edson E+I” has been a partner with the Peoria Unified School District in hosting CoLabs as an after-school program for high school students interested in entrepreneurship.

    Each student was highly knowledgeable in their respective industries, ranging from online trading platforms to photography services, to printed goods to entertainment. While each student asked the judges for the full $10,000 investment, the grand total was split amongst the competitors based on the judges’ deliberation.

    Chad Eichenlaub, coordinator of the MET Professional Academy in Peoria Unified, helped orchestrate the CoLabs with Edson E+I.

    "For many students, this is their first entrepreneurial venture, let alone their first time pitching a business concept.” said Eichenlaub. “The energy from the audience was nothing short of pure excitement and support for these young entrepreneurs. It fueled their presentations, and it was clear by the judges' decision to split the prize money that each contestant had cultivated a solid business idea.”

    Students pitched their unique businesses to a panel of judges comprised of local business owners, a private investor and a Peoria Unified administrator. Each student was given five minutes to pitch their business model, sales data and future plans to the panel and dozens of attendees and then had three minutes to answer pressing questions from judges.

    Eichenlaub describes the competitors, “The growth these high school students have shown in just a few months has been exponential. The mentorship and networking built into these CoLabs drove their passion for their entrepreneurial spirit and enabled them to become more confident youth entrepreneurs."

    Edson E+I serves the communities in which ASU is embedded, through programs based on research. The CoLab is one of many programs that Edson E+I created to support local entrepreneurs and innovators and their reach is for entrepreneurs of any age and stage of their business or non-profit. Details about next year’s CoLab will be available soon. Learn more about connecting with Edson E+I at

    Serving more than 35,000 students in 43 unique public schools across the northwest valley, the Peoria Unified School District educates tomorrow's leaders. For the past 130 years, Peoria Unified has been an Arizona public school district of choice, where students can receive a high-quality education rooted in the values that their families share. Peoria Unified meets the needs of all pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students through its variety of programs including S.T.E.A.M., arts education, special education, gifted education, career and technical education, athletics and more. To continue its long history of success, the district maintains its focus on four key components of its strategic plan: Student Success, Safety and Well-Being, Stewardship of Community Resources and Community Connection. The Peoria Unified School District continuously pursues its vision of “Every student, every day, prepared to shape tomorrow.”