Lieutenant Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge Awards $14,000 in Scholarships

Published on Saturday, January 28, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI — Daisha Jackson, a senior at the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, won first place and a $5,000 scholarship in Lieutenant Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge, a business pitch competition for high school students. The Lieutenant Governor's Entrepreneurship Challenge is organized by the Office of Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos and was first created by Governor Dan McKee in 2018.

“I am deeply proud of today’s contestants, all of whom made compelling and interesting presentations. I hope that, in addition to the scholarships they won, our students have come away more enthusiastic than ever about becoming entrepreneurs,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “Today showed that the future of Rhode Island’s small business community is bright!”

“The student contestants are the small business owners of the future, who will ensure that Rhode Island’s economic momentum continues into the next generation. They are driving the state’s economic engine with their brilliant business ventures and I know they are destined for great things,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Since starting this challenge in 2018 when I was Lt. Governor, we’ve seen students tap into their creativity and ideas to compete for thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Every year, I’m reminded that the state’s small business community is in great hands with these talented student entrepreneurs. I thank Lt. Governor Matos for continuing the Entrepreneurship Challenge for the next generation of students.”

Daisha’s business idea, Yoga for All, was awarded the highest marks out of the five finalists by a panel of judges. Four other teams won scholarships of their own, having been selected for the final round out of dozens of submissions from Rhode Island high school students.

The final results of the Lieutenant Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge are:

  • 1st Place, $5,000: Daisha Jackson, “Yoga for All,” The MET High School
  • 2nd Place, $4,000: Faith Basler, “NugSafe,” East Greenwich High School
  • 3rd Place, $2,500: Zainabou Thiam, “SunuBody,” The MET High School
  • 4th Place, $1,500: Alyssa Davidson “Crow’s Nest Art Supply,” Scituate High School
  • 5th Place, $1,000: Siddharth Gupta, Liam Helfrich, and William Sturla, “Community Connections,” Barrington High School

Funds for the scholarship are generously provided by a charitable donation from the Credit Unions of Rhode Island, as well as the support of other local businesses including BankNewport, Massey and Associates, Dr. Day Care, and the RI Association of Realtors. The funds are distributed through Millennial RI, a local non-profit that encourages young professionals to build their careers in Rhode Island.

“The Credit Unions of Rhode Island were excited to help bring back the Lieutenant Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge this year,” noted Ron McLean, president/CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association, a trade organization representing Rhode Island’s credit unions. “By taking a front seat in providing scholarship dollars to fuel the challenge today, credit unions help nourish and foster tomorrow’s successful business leaders throughout the Ocean State.”

“Encouraging student entrepreneurs has a ripple effect. Every time a young person chooses Rhode Island to start their business, we become a more appealing place for their customers and clients to work, live, and build their lives,” said Travis Escobar, President of Millennial RI. “Millennial RI and our sponsors are proud to support this program and to help young entrepreneurs chase their dreams.”

About the Lieutenant Governor’s Entrepreneurship Challenge: The Lieutenant Governor's Entrepreneurship Challenge is Rhode Island's first statewide business pitch competition for Rhode Island high school students. It is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship and promoting business ownership in the Ocean State. Through this program, high school students write and submit business plans, and the five strongest plans advance to a live pitch competition.