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Junior coils up winnings in local business competition

5MinutesTops regional winner finds success in the idea of a new method of charging devices

Junior Jacob Toomey, pictured above, won top prize in the first local round of 5MinutesTops, hosted at Holt High School. | Photo Credit: Linda Toomey

Many students have goals and dreams of becoming the next great entrepreneur or inventor that make huge steps of progress in a new direction.

Several Holt students in the last few weeks have decided to take that first step in pursuing those dreams, as a new opportunity has given them that chance.

A local business competition, entitled 5MinutesTops, founded by Director of Secondary Programs at Holt Public Schools, Lucas Schrauben, has been giving these type of students an opportunity to pitch their business idea in hopes for a cash investment. Local investors and business owners make up a panel of judges to award students according to their presentation.

This year, one of the students who decided to participate, junior Jacob Toomey, would find himself making it all the way to winning the regional competition for his new invention.

Toomey explained his idea as a cross between furniture and technology in an effort to make charging your devices a mindless task.

“Coil is like a wireless charging desk, so if your phone supports wireless charging, you can just walk up to it and set your phone on there or your earbuds or anything else that can wirelessly charge, and it will just charge them up and you don’t have to worry about it. That way, you’re always topped off and ready to go,” said Toomey.

Toomey pitched his idea for the first time during the first round of competition at Holt High School. It was held at the North Campus on Feb. 13. It consisted of 13 participants of Holt students and a panel of local business people.

Toomey would go on to win a few hundred dollars that night and an invite to the regional competition held on Michigan State University's campus on Mar. 13. He would end up winning the grand prize there also. It reflects on the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new.

“I won a lot of money and it’s been a great experience to go and talk in front of people and pitch an idea - it’s good practice for the future,” said Toomey.

The regional 5MinutesTops event included students from several other local high schools, including East Lansing, Mason, Haslett, and Okemos, many of which had their own local first round as Holt had.

Schrauben is passionate about putting this event on each year. In his eyes, it's an incredibly rare, beneficial opportunity for students who are ready and willing to make their ideas come to life.

“I hope what students get out of this is that they are capable, able, and ready. One thing I see is a pragmatic problem among our young adults is this feeling of having to wait until this - what? What are you waiting for? Like I can’t go do, or create, or be somebody until I graduate, or until I get this college degree…” said Schrauben.

To Schrauben, it seems students, as well as the panelists, find something rewarding about putting on the event each year.

Schrauben said, “I think that most people are intrinsically compelled to give back to their community, and furthermore, people are always willing to help when young people are willing to hustle.”

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