Junior Achievement of the Space Coast held their Business Blastoff Challenge, with first round judging at the Florida Institute of Technology on Wednesday, February 22, and the final round of judging and presentation of awards on Thursday evening, February 23 at the Cocoa Village Playhouse. The hosts for the evening were JA’s president, Anne Conroy-Baiter, Balda Family Foundation’s Rick Balda, and weVENTURE’s executive director, Erica Lemp. SCB’s Jeff Piersall was the master of ceremonies, introducing the five final teams. After a tough round of presentations and questions from the judges, Piersall announced the winning team. This year “Moshi” from Viera High School took the top prize. Moshi is Nylayah Cherichel, Lexie Ewing, Joseph Martinez and Khanh (Noa) Phan. Their teacher representative is Stacey Gammella, and their JA volunteer is Steve Davis.
Moshi presented a business plan and working prototype of a waste basket with integral exterior bag storage. The students considered their market viability and competition, and prepared projected sales and production costs with a detailed market analysis. For their efforts, each student on the winning team received a renewable scholarship to Florida Institute of Technology, as well as scholarship money from the Balda Family Foundation. The scholarships represent almost $200K for the winning team.