FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV) – Local high school students in Fond du Lac had the opportunity to pitch business ideas to local community leaders for a chance to win a cash prize.

Students from North Fond du Lac High School have been working all year in their ‘incubator class,’ where they now pitched their ideas in hopes of securing grant money. The incubator program is a national program used by many school districts.

“We are all about giving opportunities for kids to work through the entrepreneurial mindset to start their own businesses, but also to learn a lot about team skills, communication, collaboration, and working with amazing partners in our community,” said Business Teacher Kurt Wismer.

Similar to the show ‘Shark Tank,’ local business owners heard out the student’s ideas and the top three were given monetary grants of $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place.

Students learned entrepreneurial skills including communication, collaboration, and resilience while embarking on their journey. The students worked alongside local businesses as well.

‘Hope on the Block,’ a nonprofit organization that sells shirts and other goods to support homelessness was the winner of the contest. Put together by three students, the organization got in contact with the Salvation Army, United Way, and the local library to help out with the nonprofit. “They’ve helped us a lot throughout this program,” added Lily Heidl.

The three students were extremely proud to win the $1,500 grant. “We worked so hard to get here and I think this put all the pieces together,” said Chloe Burgert.

Burgert continued by stating the group had their struggles but were able to overcome the issues. “We had a major fight a few days before today and we got through it. We just bickered back and forth but at the end of the day we figured it out and now here we are with a $1,500 check in our hands, waiting to move forward.”

“I’m shocked. It’s crazy, but I knew we could do it,” added Laura Ayala.