Knoxville students' business plan inspired by Smoky Mountains

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The saying children are the future leaders of tomorrow, is a common phrase. At the LaConte Center at Pigeon Forge, that time was Monday.

More than 1,500 students pitched their business plans under one roof. It's a part of Virtual Enterprise's Regional Competition.

From custom care packages to clothing stores, the competitors thought outside the box. Out of all the students from six different states, one Knoxville group had a very different business pitch.

"The wildfires in the Smoky Mountains. we just sat there and couldn't do anything. We wanted to create a game that educates them on how we can stop this from happening in the future and hopefully just create a new earth," Zachary Hull, the NeoTerra CEO, said.

The group coded their own gaming system to teach kids how humans can hurt the environment anywhere on the globe.

"The first part is the black bear within the great Smoky Mountains wildfire and that's kind of the story that the first game goes through. But, we're going to expand and have a gray wolf in the Arctic that's going to talk about illegal poaching," Hull said.

Their plan won the regional competition.

"We've all worked insanely hard, and to say that I'm the only person who should be holding this trophy is a lie. I literally could not do it without everyone in this company," Hull said.

Theoretically, Bearden High has what it takes to make the pitch legit.

It's now a matter of when.

"It's a question that I have to ask myself now." Hull said. "It's such a great idea and it's something that hasn't been done. So, there's not a reason not to make it real, so I guess we'll see what the future holds."

The Bearden students will compete in the Big Apple next spring.

Students said the prize is all the hands-on experience and the chance at a world title.

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