Students in Ms. Moore’s Economics class dove into the sea of economics through an inquiry project in entrepreneurship. The Shark Tank project is modeled after the popular television show, but executed in a much more supportive manner. The project provides an opportunity for budding student- entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.
Ms. Moore was inspired to incorporate the Shark Tank project into her classroom after seeing similar projects online and adapted the premise to fit her curriculum. She was drawn to the hands-on approach it would provide to students. “We can’t just teach a topic; we have to apply it,” said Ms. Moore.
The Shark Tank project connects microeconomic principles, like determinants of supply and demand, market equilibrium, profit and revenue estimates, and price models. Ms. Moore explained that students have to weave these components into their business plans. In order to produce a thoughtful business plan, it is essential that students have a firm grasp on microeconomics and its theories.
Ms. Moore’s Economics classes started working on their projects mid-September. Students began the process by forming groups (or deciding to work solo), brainstorming business ideas, and eventually composing business plans. Once their plans were drafted, they received initial feedback from Ms. Moore and made necessary revisions. A week before the project came to a close, students in Ms. Moore’s class were busy making final touches to their plans, putting together PowerPoint presentations, and practicing their pitches. Many groups said they were nervous to present to the “sharks,” but excited about their business ideas. “It’s a bit intimidating,” said Annabelle ‘20.
On presentation day, the students were prepared to make their business pitches to this year’s “panel of sharks,” which included Mark Gilboard, Matthew Ayoub, and Roger Barkoff. Mr. Gilboard is a Business Consultant and Trainer at WESST, an organization that helps develop small businesses through consulting, training, lending, and incubation. Mr. Ayoub is an entrepreneur and founder of the company Media Trove. Mr. Barkoff is a local business owner and father of Bosque School senior Annabelle. The combination of “sharks" offered a diverse set of perspectives. After each pitch, the “sharks” took turns providing mindful feedback to each entrepreneur.
Roger Barkoff observed, “First impressions of the Shark Tank projects are how difficult it can be to come up with a unique idea. Bosque students, for the most part, did just that.” He added, “Hopefully, they gained an understanding of how difficult the process of marketing a product can be.”
Another shark, Mark Giboard, said, “The Bosque Shark Tank event was a great opportunity to watch creative, inspiring young entrepreneurs test their business ideas. I was truly amazed at the high level of preparation that I was able to observe.” He continued, “Some of the business concepts were already market-ready, and all of them demonstrated market needs and problems waiting to be solved, with fresh approaches to marketing and sales. Being able to provide feedback was a pleasure and the highlight of my day.”