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Wasatch High School entrepreneurs awarded $40,000 at Invest Nest

Coleman Childs with judges Jessica Larson, David Studdert, Jim Ritchie and Devin Johnson
Wasatch High School
Coleman Childs with judges Jessica Larson, David Studdert, Jim Ritchie and Devin Johnson

Wasatch High School entrepreneurs were awarded $40,000 at the recent Invest Nest competition...and that cash came with lessons in paying it forward.  

Ten students blazed new trails and wowed judges with their business ideas in a celebration of innovation at the high school’s 7th Annual Invest Nest.

Student Emry Winegar helped organize the event. “It’s basically like a Shark Tank-style competition where we recruit some of our Wasatch students to present their entrepreneurial ideas to an audience. The winner gets $10,000, second place gets $7,500, third place gets $5,000 and the rest of the top 10 get $1,000.” 

That’s big bucks for aspiring business moguls and this year, almost $40,000 was awarded thanks to the support of local businesses and individuals. Monday's winners will advance to the state competition April 29 in Provo.

Invest Nest top 10 students
Wasatch High School
Invest Nest top 10 students

Invest Nest was founded in 2018 by J.W. Davies, Brad Allen and James Ballstaedt. Over the past seven years, more than $450,000 in grants have been awarded to help students grow their businesses. More than 40 of those startups are still in operation.

Students pitched their business to a panel of four judges, rattling off their company metrics with average income, return on investments and competitor analysis.

Coleman Childs with Cole Films took the top spot. Ty and Boston Barnes of Pickleball Court Surfacing placed second and Jed Kelly’s window tinting business Kelly Customs came in third.

Childs started his film production business nine months ago and already has 33 clients. When asked about the impact Artificial Intelligence will have on his industry, he acknowledged A.I. tools can make editing easier but said they will never be able to capture the emotion of the human experience.

“I believe that every business here tonight, even everyone out here in the audience, uses video on the daily," he said. "They need me to help market their business, in addition to just cherishing and remembering the memories they make throughout their daily lives.”

The second-place Barnes brothers said the grant money will give them more opportunities to expand while giving back to the community.

They recently helped Erik Thompson, a high school football coach with severe ALS, who was scammed out of $10,000 by another pickleball court company. “So we went in and did his entire court for free, with help from our suppliers, and also a lot of crowdfunding donations. We love doing things like this because it just gives more meaning to our business and drives us to be more successful.”

Success comes in many forms, as these young entrepreneurs will learn on their journeys to build–and fulfill–dreams.