hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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February 22, 2012

Is the next Bill Gates in Haverhill?

Contest lures students with business ideas

Somewhere in Haverhill may be another Steve Jobs, another Bill Gates.

The school system and Brightside volunteer organization want to find them.

Haverhill schools and Brightside are seeking students for the annual Green Business Idea contest.

Contest organizers are looking for students with innovative business ideas who have the initiative to bring together environmental issues with socially responsible projects.

The competition has two parts and will go public at two major Haverhill events this spring and summer — the Haverhill Goes Green fair in April and the annual July 4 festival.

At the Haverhill Goes Green fair, students will define their business ideas and work toward making a presentation. The fair is April 29.

Contest winners at the fair will receive $500. With that money and any other cash they raise to help turn their ideas into competitive projects, contestants will move to the second part of the competition, which will be during the July 4 festival at Trinity EMS Stadium.

There, competitors will present their completed projects and compete for media recognition, ribbons and an opportunity to enter other upcoming business contests next year.

Contestants must have their applications in to Brightside by April 15 and submit a three- to five-minute video by April 21.

This year's new business idea contestants will come from grades from nine through 12 at Haverhill High School. A secondary photo contest will be open to students up to grade two.

The contests are designed to encourage participation by Haverhill High students who have a new idea for a business that will benefit the environment and have social impact as well.

The criteria for the high school contest include: Student enthusiasm; how well student teams identify an opportunity; project innovation; relevance to the community, environment and school; financial sustainability; defined budget; and whether the idea is useful and practical.

"We want the students to come up with an idea that is socially conscious as well as profitable, something that benefits the environment and society," said contest planner John Michitson, who is also president of the City Council.

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