How can we bridge the gap between the classroom and the corporate room? Invite the business leaders in…
Students at Canastota Junior Senior high participate yearly in a program called “CEO: Collaborative and Enterprising Opportunity.” This program paired my business students with business owners and leaders from across the United States via Skype. Students in Canastota, New York collaborated with business leaders from California, Oregon, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and New York as they developed the business plan in class. Business students met weekly with their assigned business leader and discussed various phases of the business plan.
As the capstone project, I decided to have students present their business plans to a panel of local business owners, or local investors.
Business students smashed boundaries by presenting their business plans to a group of local business owners for feedback, Shark Tank style. Students were instructed on how to prepare an “elevator pitch.” The plan was to pitch their business within a 2-5 minute time period and to gain feedback from local business owners. The following is a summary of the learning I was proud to witness as a teacher…
Cheyanne and Rosa- Lhasa Breeds, Inc.
Cheyanne and Rosa kicked off our presentations and were brave enough to be the first to present to our esteemed panel. These business partners have a plan to open a breeding business that focuses on the good temperament of Lhasa Apso’s. They presented their poster with pride and focused on finance. The paws on the poster were eye-catching. These students did a nice job and deserve recognition for being the first to stand up and represent our classroom.
Randy- RMB Aircraft
Future entrepreneur Randy pitched his airplane repossession business with confidence and passion as he displayed his model airplane and helicopter. Local business leaders from Nice and Easy Grocery Shops and Sandy’s Flowers were impressed with Randy’s passion for airplanes. Randy even made a demonstration using his model airplane and helicopter to bring his idea to life. Nice job Randy!
Connor and Isaac- Hounds Grill
The dynamic duo presented their business in fine fashion. Isaac and Connor spoke with enthusiasm and described the idea of Hounds Grill that pairs the restaurant business with dog owners. Their rock solid plan was developed with the help of Jackie Bernardi, CEO of Personal Skin Solutions in California, got the attention of local business owner Rick Stevens, owner of ZEMS Ice Cream.
Brandon and Dallis- Wiggin’ Out
As Brandon and Dallis presented their idea to open a wig business to help cancer patients, MaryKay Cosmetics Independent Consultant, Mary Reina, marveled at their bravery. She noted that these students are to be commended for designing a business idea to a help those struggling with cancer. The confidence displayed by Brandon and Dallis was palpable and Rick Stevens specifically said that Brandon has a gift.
Hafeezah- Harmony Bakery
A true treat, Hafeezah brought samples of one of the cakes she will sell at her health conscious bakery. Hafeezah has the vision to create baked goods that are safe for diabetics. Her presentation was flawless. Hafeezah came in during her lunch to set up for her presentation and dressed up for the affair. Fran Duskiewicz of Nice and Easy Grocery Shops commented after tasting the sample saying “good, very good!” What a compliment from an executive from the food industry, way to go Hafeezah!
Trisha- Blue Water
Trisha literally smashed boundaries. Trisha was reluctant to present but persevered and decided to go for it and present to the panel. Trisha hit the ball out of the park with her Blue Water idea. Her water is the color blue and is filled with vitamins and nourishment. She plans to compete with Pepsi, dream big! Fran Duskiewicz, Senior Executive Vice President of Nice and Easy Grocery Shops, commented that this might be an interesting product to see on their shelves. I am beyond proud of Trisha’s accomplishment, her water company is inventive and I am thrilled that she was able to share it with the team.
Joel- Adrenaline Rush
Joel presented his idea for Adrenaline Rush, a business that brings the outdoors and adventurous activities to his patrons. Joel stepped up to present with confidence and impressed the local business owners. Joel’s enthusiasm was infectious, the crowd loved his idea and he even got a few laughs! Fabulous job! Rick Stevens said “this presentation was the winner overall.”
Konnor and Aaron- K.O. Fruits
Konnor and Aaron are business partners who plan to harvest and sell fruits nationwide. These confident future business owners had a solid plan to accompany their idea and emphasized to “start small, but think big.” As an added bonus one of the business leaders in attendance was their mentor, Mary Reina, Independent Consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary guided these two future executives via skype as they built the business plan. It was a full-circle moment for Mary to be one of our guests to provide feedback after their pitch. Mary was impressed. Additionally, Konnor and Aaron were honored to meet their executive mentor face-to-face.
Jacob- JB’s Combo Juices
Jacob has the fabulous idea to compete with large scale fruit juice and smoothie companies. Jacob plans to provide juice drinks and smoothies in a variety of flavors with reduced sugar. Jacob really had the interest of some of the executives in attendance with his fabulous pitch. During the feedback portion, Todd Cutrie, owner of Titletown Fightclub, pointed out that if he could make a drink with less sugar and more protein, he could corner the market for sports enthusiasts. In a fun twist, Jacob plans to have a working relationship with K.O. Fruits mentioned above for production. Way to go Jacob, we can’t wait to see your store in every shopping mall in America!
Jakob and Jeff- Buck Wild
Business partners Jakob and Jeff presented their hunting business to business leaders with ease. These two entrepreneurs are risk takers and push boundaries consistently. I was impressed with their overall presentation and proud to see them answer questions from the panel, nice job guys!
The Entrepreneurship students are now learning about how to make good investments. These students deserve kudos for stepping outside of their comfort zones and collaborating with business leaders all year. Thank you to each and every business owner and leader from across the country including California, Nevada, Texas, Oregon, Oklahoma, Colorado and of course, New York. This was truly a Collaborative and Enterprising Opportunity.