Gigot Center

Gigot Center News

Jewelry-from-junk venture wins ND competition for high school entrepreneurs

by Carol Elliott

April 1, 2012

Business Chart

Invention Convention winner Charell Luckey throws her hands in the air as Melissa Paulsen, mentor Shannon Brown and Duane Wilson present her with a check.

To Charell Luckey, earrings made from parts of old eyeglasses are not only eco-wear, they’re things of beauty. They also may be the start of an entrepreneurial venture for the senior at Adams High School in South Bend, Ind.

Luckey’s venture, “ReGlamerize,” recently took the first-place prize of $500 in 2012 Notre Dame Invention Convention, a competition for local high school students held March 29 at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

The Invention Convention, in its 10th year, invites local high school students to submit their best ideas for a business venture into the competition, which begins in the fall. Sponsored by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship and the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC), the event aims to enhance their business, academic and life skills through an entrepreneurship curriculum provided by the Network for TeachingEntrepreneurship (NFTE).

The program cultivates a spirit of entrepreneurship by providing innovative learning experiences relevant to the entrepreneurial world. The students learn the basics of starting their own business and engage with Notre Dame mentors to develop a unique business plan of their own. This year-long program culminates with a business plan competition, at which students have the opportunity to showcase their work. Notre Dame undergraduate and MBA students participate as mentors and event judges.

"The winners epitomize what we are trying to accomplish in this program,” said Duane Wilson, Advanced Skills Program Director at the Robinson Center in South Bend. “They are true entrepreneurs at heart and demonstrated a commitment to develop their ideas into feasible business plans.  They took advantage of the ND mentors' wisdom, which enabled them to present excellent plans with poise and confidence." 

Seven ventures were named as finalists, with ventures ranging from recycling athletic footwear to a party-planning consultancy. The top three entries and their self-described missions were:

·       Charell Luckey (senior, John Adams High School) with “ReGlamerize”: The venture will provide customers with fashionable, unique, meaningful and affordable pieces of jewelry that allows them to express themselves and that can be worn for any occasion.  The jewelry is made from recycled materials, personalized to order, hand-made and of amazing quality.  Not only is it inexpensive and durable, but it makes great gifts, is a green product, and turns sentimental/broken/important items into personalized jewelry.

·       Matt Danik (junior, Clay High School) with “Danik’s Property Service”: The service provides top quality property clean-up services at a low, affordable rate.  We treat all customers and property owners with professionalism and personal attention that will foster long term return relationship.

·       Tanner Stanton (junior, Clay High School) with “Stanton Clothing”: Stanton is a clothing brand all of its own.  Stanton brings comfort and color to a market that has just slightly been touched. The objective of Stanton is to bring color and style to sweat pants, giving male teens and young adults a way to express themselves, while maintaining comfort.  Stanton is necessary because there is not a clothing company that's main focus is on designs and colors.

“The Invention Convention fosters a terrific spirit of achievement, community and collaboration in everyone who gets involved,” said Melissa Paulsen, program manager at the Gigot Center. “Our MBA and undergrad students bring so much enthusiasm to their work with the high-schoolers, and the experience gives the younger kids a glimpse into how entrepreneurship can open up an entirely new future.”

Contact: Melissa Paulsen, program manager, (574) 631-7568, mpaulse1@nd.edu.