Local Nonprofit Chapter to Partner With Parks Department to Provide Entrepreneurship Opportunity for Local High School Students

March 4, 2020

RICHMOND, IN - When Kevin Schamel met Caleb Smith, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Richmond Parks Department, he immediately knew that they would join forces at some point to make an impact on students in the Richmond community. “I was so energized by Caleb’s passion and energy for creating opportunities for engagement and involvement. He is truly driven to help build a community that everyone would be glad to call ‘theirs’” Kevin recalls.

As President of STARTedUP Richmond, the local chapter of The STARTedUP Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit based out of Noblesville, Indiana, Schamel organizes monthly Student Innovation Nights and Student Pitch competitions that give area high school students authentic opportunities to solve real problems, learn how to network, and ultimately start viewing the “problems” in our world as “opportunities.” As a result of the first two student pitch competitions, two Richmond High School students have earned startup funding to launch their own businesses.

Based on the success of these events, Smith contacted Schamel to discuss a possible collaboration between STARTedUP Richmond and the Richmond Parks Department. Smith shared the challenges of operating the concessions at the city’s multiple parks, from staffing to profitability and proposed an innovative solution: a high school student pitch competition where teams would develop and pitch their proposal for a food service operation in the Glen Miller Concessions Stand that they would operate for the summer. From there, the “Food Fight” Summer Business Pitch Competition was born. 

High School Students in the Richmond/Wayne County area are eligible to enter their idea in the competition, however, it’s going to take more than a good idea to win this contest. “The judges will be looking for not only an idea that makes sense for the concession stand, but also they need to feel confident that the students have a strong plan and the resources needed to pull it off,” says Schamel. These resources will come in the form of startup funding and mentors for the winner.

To better prepare the students, there will be two workshops held in April that are designed to help the teams develop their business plans and create their pitch. Schamel and Smith will be calling upon local colleges, business leaders, and business development resources in the area to serve as mentors during this process.

“The ability to provide this unique opportunity to the community is what we’re all about” said Denise Retz, Park Superintendent. “Giving students the opportunity to gain valuable experience and to earn their own money for the summer is very exciting, and I can’t wait to see the creative ideas that they bring to the table!”

The pitch competition will be held on Thursday, April 30 at 6:00 at City Hall. Prior to that event, however, are a number of important dates that interested students need to know about:

March 15: Interest form submission deadline (

Week of April 6: Business Development Workshop #1

Week of April 20: Business Development Workshop #2

April 24: Deadline to submit formal competition application

April 30: Pitch Competition

For more information, parents or students can contact Kevin Schamel at or by visiting 

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For questions, imagery, or for media requests, please contact the organizers via the contact details below:

Kevin Schamel
Chapter Adviser | Richmond Chapter
The STARTedUP Foundation
(937) 683-9859

Caleb Smith
Community Engagement Coordinator
Richmond Parks and Recreation
2200 East Main Street  
Richmond, IN 47374
(765) 983-7425

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