Entrepreneurs face ‘Shark Tank’
May 6, 2017
Student entrepreneurs at Douglas High School dangled venture ideas in front of local business leaders Wednesday in hopes they would bite.
The entrepreneurs, students in Jill Alley's principles of business and marketing class, were participating in their version of the hit television show "Shark Tank."
"Shark Tank" is a reality show featuring entrepreneurs who try to convince multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons — the sharks — to invest in their businesses, according to abc.go.com.
Alley echoed the idea from Billy McHenry at Carson High School. McHenry introduced the Shark Tank project to his business classes in March.
McHenry told the Nevada Appeal during the March event that he is a fan of "Shark Tank" and he wanted to play out the show in class to give the students more hands-on experience in entrepreneurship.
"The kids love it. I have had so many [say] 'this is so cool, it is so fun,'" he said.
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Ideas brought forth Wednesday by Douglas students covered topics including food trucks and restaurants, clothing and makeup, photography, a student store and technology.
"I think the kids did fantastic," said Alley. "I'm very proud of them because a business plan is comprehensive and requires a ton of research."
Alley said students presented their ideas in class, then finalists were selected to face the Shark Tank.
Business leaders Jeff Wass, former owner of Dayton Material and Jiffy Lube; Richard Wenschlag, owner of Yogurt Beach; Charlie Pankey of Valet Marketing; James Berston from Edward Jones and Ursala Prebezac, business banking manager at City National Bank, portrayed the sharks during the Douglas presentations. They listened to the students describe their trade, business plan and expected risks, then provided suggestions and critiques to improve the ideas.
The students were evaluated on their description of the business, marketing aspects, operations and management plans, financial plans, anticipated risks, long-term goals and delivery.
City National Bank and an anonymous donor provided $500 in scholarship money to each class. One class elected all the money be awarded to the first-place winner, while the other class chose $400 be awarded to the first-place winner and $50 each to the second and third-place winners.
Ethan Craik netted the $500 scholarship with his idea for Craik Photography.
In the class that chose to split the winnings, Maggie Rich took first place with "TechKnow," a technology class for seniors, Madison Vickers took second with "Verkies," a custom makeup company and Conrad Brockett and Alex Harker came in third place with "Vendaid" — a Band-Aid and sunscreen vending machine.
"Through the process of all this, I think the kids learned a lot," said Alley. "Many people just say 'oh, let's start a business,' but they don't think about the aspects that actually go into it and I think the realization of all that just blew them away."
Alley said she will continue the Shark Tank with her business classes and mentioned she and McHenry have discussed the possibility of Douglas and Carson competing in the Shark Tank at some point in the future.