Regan Feit’s 30-second pitch for her virtual race company, racetoflattenthecurve.com, earned third place in the first CEO National Pitch competition last week.

30-second business promo nets Luverne entrepreneurial student $250

Regan Feit, a junior at Luverne High School, earned $250 last week when she placed third in the first CEO National Pitch Competition.

Bryn Mongeau, a Hills-Beaver Creek High School senior, was named to the Top 18 and earned $50.

The two students are part of the Southwest Minnesota Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities program along with 13 other high school students from Pipestone, Edgerton and Adrian.

This is the second year for the Midland Institute program, which partners with local businesses to introduce high school juniors and seniors to various business development processes. A final project for the yearlong class is to develop individual businesses.

Since the coronavirus pandemic started two months ago, local CEO students have joined Zoom conferences with the other 55 CEO programs across the U.S. At the April 30 Zoom meeting, the pitch competition was announced. Entries were due back a week later for judging.

Four students with the Southwest MN CEO program entered the contest. Feit was watching the Thursday, May 14, Zoom conference when her 30-second pitch entry was announced as the third-place winner out of 74 entrants. 

Maxine Clark, creator of the Build-A-Bear Workshop franchise, was the guest speaker as well as a contest judge.

“One of the things I liked about what Regan said was ‘the owner of’ … she was one of the few people that said that,” Clark said. Others said “investor or creator.”

Feit earned $250 cash and Mongeau $50 as a finalist. Both will also receive other prizes that include books, certificates and a coffee mug. Mongeau’s business sells personalized hobby products such as 20-sided dice. 

The pitch competition encouraged students to use their phones to record a 30-second promotion of their business and upload the results to YouTube to be judged.

Each of the 74 submissions were judged on a 50-point scale on how they outlined a problem, provided a unique solution, explained why customers should act, and how engaging the speaker was in the presentation.

Feit saw the competition as a learning experience.

“I had nothing to lose,” she said. “It was only 30 seconds.”

Feit pitched her business called “Race to Flatten the Curve,” a virtual race experience for children through adults.

“Are you tired of sitting at home during this pandemic? Or are you a runner who has had all your races canceled? Well, I have the perfect thing for you,” Feit pitched.

“Race to Flatten the Curve are virtual races that can be run or walked from anywhere, at any time. You can do it wherever, whenever, however fast you want.”

A portion of the $10 per race proceeds is donated to the Corona Response Fund for Nurses. At the bottom of each race bib number is a blank in which an entrant can dedicate to a specific race.

Since April, Feit has garnered 112 followers on her Facebook page, and since the launch of the website, racetoflattenthecurve.com, earlier this month, 56 entrants have chosen a distance to run or walk.

Feit relied on her experience as an athlete on the Luverne cross country and track and field teams to guide her business and selection of race distances.

Distances range from a 400-meter dash to a 26.2-mile marathon. Signup is still open at Feit’s website with races completed by June 30 to be eligible for prizes through her business.

Originally her business focused on in-person races and was called “Rock River Mile.” Due to the coronavirus pandemic preventing people from gathering, she changed to a virtual race format.

“Her business is actually thriving right now,” said Luverne’s Katie Baustian, facilitator for the Southwest CEO program. “She’s had signups from Kentucky and Iowa as well as locally.”

The local CEO program is planning a showcase for this year’s 15 student businesses on June 17 at Grand Prairie Events in Luverne

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