High School entrepreneurs Keon Jones, left, and Kyle Richardson will compete this weekend with their hair product business.

2 high school entrepreneurs go for $12k this weekend

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

High School entrepreneurs Keon Jones, left, and Kyle Richardson will compete this weekend with their hair product business.

High School entrepreneurs Keon Jones, left, and Kyle Richardson will compete this weekend with their hair product business.

A passion for financial freedom led high school senior Keon Jones to dedicate himself to entrepreneurship and a business creation.

Now, he and classmate Kyle Richardson will pitch their business to entrepreneurs, business professionals and community leaders to compete for $100,000 in prizes at the 2024 Diamond Challenge Summit.

The event takes place from Thursday to Saturday at the University of Delaware.  

Jones and Richardson, both seniors, are aspiring entrepreneurs at Freire Charter School Wilmington.

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Their business, RichCoverage, is an affordable and effective hair-loss solution. Their product is a sort of powder that serves two purposes.

“It’s a way for you to give yourself esteem or improve a self-esteem issue that you have from like hair loss or bullying or, you know, hair receding and all that,” he said, “but also just a way to style your hair and it is more convenient and efficient than other options.”

“When you come up in a household that wasn’t necessarily the highest income, it gives you that job to kind of make it out and make a way for yourself,” Jones said, “and the way I see it is you’re not going to make that million  by working for somebody else – you’re going to have to go out there and create your own thing.”

Having ownership over a business or product and being your own boss, he said, results in that idea of financial freedom that he longs for.

RichCoverage was one of the top teams at the EntreX Delaware Venture Showcase, where the team earned $500 and punched their ticket to the Diamond Challenge Summit.  

Jones, Richardson and their teacher, Nathan Moser.

Jones, Richardson and their teacher, Nathan Moser.

Richardson, who used to live in Jamaica as a young child, saw his father own and operate an arcade and construction business. 

He said seeing his father run those two businesses while helping him work in the arcade sparked his interest in entrepreneurship 

At the summit, Richardson and Jones will compete with students from across the globe at UD and hope to cash in to win up to $12,000 for their business.  

The three-day competition is the culmination of the year-long global pitch competition. 

Richardson and Jones are very confident in their business. 

“We feel very confident,” Richardson said. “I think we’re going to win. There’s no doubt that we’re going to win. And that’s it.”

Jones said the summit is a great opportunity because of the diversity of people that are going to be there.

“The fact that it’s just such a big stage and knowing that we were able to get to that stage is just a huge accomplishment,” he said.

At the event, entrepreneurs will network and present their business ideas to a panel of business experts, entrepreneurs and community leaders. 

The development of the product was pretty consistent, with a few tweaks to the ingredients they put in the powder.

Richardson said it only took the two a single week to develop the product. 

They made it as part of their dual enrollment class with about 15 other students. 

“It’s not designed to be done with a huge group,” said their teacher Nathan Moser. “The students are getting the high school credit for an elective but they’re also getting dual enrollment credits, UD credit, so that when they graduate high school, they’re already having college credits.”

He said at the summit there’s 72 teams from around the world, split into two categories, business ideas and social ideas.

“Half of them are how to make the world a better place, not necessarily to not make profit, but just focused on how to make the world a better place,” Moser said, “while the other half’s goal is to make a profit.”

Jones and Richardson are the only team representing the First State, and Moser pointed out there’s teams from South Korea, Costa Rica, Japan, England, Canada, Mexico and a slew of other world countries.

The two students had to also build a brand around the product – something that really takes it from a simple item to an actual business. 

That included creating a website and branching out with marketing through social media. 

If their confidence pays off and they win the cash prize, the two students want to reinvest their money back into themselves and their business. 

“For me, it might be putting it into some type of index fund or putting it into the stock market and then buying a car or an X, Y and Z,” Jones said. “It could be putting it into college. There’s multiple avenues that we can do with it, but the idea is to actually reinvest it on things to build ourselves up, so not to just blow it all away.”

Richardson said he’s going to reinvest it in any business he wants to pursue, and also treat himself to a gym and boxing membership. 

The two are not sure about college, although Richardson said if he does attend, he would go for cybersecurity and finances, and he’s been offered almost a full ride to Pace University in New York.

Jones said he would consider the University of Delaware because of the perks of in-state tuition.

“In terms of a major, I’ve narrowed it down to nursing or finance, just because nursing, I’m in health and helping people,” he said, “and for finance, I’m going to learn more about financial literacy and I feel like the closer I am to money, the more money I will make.”

There’s no business ideas on the immediate horizon for the two, although Richardson runs a clothing brand with his cousin. 

Jones said he wants to get into website design to create web pages for other business owners who want to market and sell their products. 

“Anyone who’s in education knows that there’s like a formula to follow for school,” Moser said, “so anytime that a student, a group of students tend to break away from the mold of, you know, a Scantron test, and instead do something that’s hands-on that benefits through lives that they find value in themselves, and is educational, it’s awesome to see.”

He said classes like his dual enrollment one allows students who might not be on a traditional college track to pursue their own passions.

“It’s so hard for us to evaluate a student like that when they’re 17 or 18 years old,” he said. “We’re used to giving these students the SAT, and society says if you don’t get a good score on the SATs, then you’ve failed in life.”

Richardson and Jones, he said, are two examples of unique students who can do so much more in life than other people because they have the ability to interact with people, have personality, the skills that aren’t tested on a simple Scantron test.

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