Sahil Mantha – 2021
Sunset High School – Portland, Oregon
“An idea is like a seed. Unless you plant and nurture it, it won’t grow and blossom into a tree. Anyone can have an idea, but entrepreneurs are the ones who take their ideas and grow them into successful products and businesses. The Blue Ocean Competition challenges those entrepreneurs and fuels them to think outside the box and make their mark on the world.”
Below is an interview with the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneur Pitch Competition second-place winner for 2020. This student pitched the idea of creating an auto-inject stylistic bracelet. Hopefully this pitch inspires other students to compete and offer solutions to current problems.
Why did you enter the contest? What did you hope to accomplish or learn?
I entered the competition because I wanted to get feedback on my idea and see if it was a feasible product in today’s consumer market
How did you learn about the competition (school or teacher, Internet, recommendation from a friend…)?
I stumbled upon the Blue Ocean Instagram page by chance and became interested once I visited the website and read about the competition.
Why this contest and not another one? What appealed to you about this competition?
I liked that the competition was student-led and focused on an easy way for students from all over the world to pitch and showcase their ideas. I was also intrigued by the idea of Blue Ocean strategy and how you could tie it into your pitch
How or why did you pick your topic?
I realized how inefficient current auto-injectors are when witnessing anaphylaxis in a friend, and came up with a design that is more accessible and portable.
Is this a real business that you plan on pursuing?
Yes it is. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from friends and mentors who had helped me along the way and I genuinely want to make a difference to people with severe allergies and provide them with a better alternative to what is currently available today.
Do you plan on being an entrepreneur?
Honestly, i’m not sure. I am still finding what I want to pursue later in life but it is definitely at the top of my list.
What were your favorite learnings from the Blue Ocean concepts?
I really enjoyed learning about the difference between red and blue ocean landscapes and applying it to my idea to ensure a blue ocean industry.
How will you use the fact that you won?
I hope that having won this competition will shed light on my idea and help create meaningful connections to help EpiBracelet grow.
How much time did you spend creating your pitch?
I spent about a week creating my slideshow and working on my script.
What was hard?
Really conceptualizing the product in the first place. When I first came up with the idea, I had no clue as to how I would go to design and produce a prototype. It was thanks to meeting the right people that I found a mechanical engineer willing to work with me to design and manufacture a working prototype.
What was easy?
In my opinion there was no easy part. Some things might have felt easier than others but the process of creating a product and bringing it to market is very hard and time consuming. I spent hours on all aspects from the design to the business plan to bring the EpiBracelet to life.
Did you find the fact that this is a virtual and global competition appealing?
I definitely found these 2 aspects of the Blue Ocean Competition appealing. It was hard not being able to really do anything from home due to the Coronavirus outbreak and having an online competition, with people from all over the world was an eye opening experience. Seeing all the other pitches, and learning from them was incredible.
Did your school or teacher encourage you or did you pursue this on your own?
My school, Sunset High School, has a dedicated business department and business extracurriculars that promote entrepreneurship and innovation and teach students to go out and seize opportunities. After being in business classes in my freshman and sophomore year, I gained support from teachers which helped connect me to people who have helped make EpiBracelet real.
Was there value to your school in your entering and/or winning?
I feel that it shows how unique the business program at my school prepares future entrepreneurs. I hope that my winning shows other students that entrepreneurship is a viable option in their future and that they too will push themselves to participate in competitions like Blue Ocean.
What did you learn?
Throughout the process of filming and making my video, I learned alot about essential information, and how to fit the necessary information in a short period of time. Furthermore, I learned a great deal about fitting my product to a specific target market, and adjusting it based on research and need.
What will you do with your winnings?
I plan on using my winnings to invest back into EpiBracelet and continue to develop and perfect the design.
What would you do differently?
I would’ve narrowed in on my target market, and done more customer validation, as I only started talking to people about the product after the initial design, and this led to new information and many redesigns before settling on the current EpiBracelet.
What advice do you have for future participants?
Take it slowly. Being an entrepreneur can mean long waits and feeling like you’re moving nowhere, but keep yourself centered and surround yourself with people you trust and respect so that you can always stay positive and keep moving forward.
“An idea is like a seed. Unless you plant and nurture it, it won’t grow and blossom into a tree. Anyone can have an idea, but entrepreneurs are the ones who take their ideas and grow them into successful products and businesses. The Blue Ocean Competition challenges those entrepreneurs and fuels them to think outside the box and make their mark on the world.” – Sahil Mantha