Students in Ms. Moore’s Economics class took the plunge into the deep sea of economics through an inquiry project in entrepreneurship—the 3rd annual Shark Tank project. Inspired by the popular television show, the Shark Tank project is modeled similarly with student-entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges, or “sharks,” receiving valuable feedback in return.
For the last four weeks, Ms. Moore’s economics students connected microeconomic principles—such as determinants of supply and demand, market equilibrium, profit and revenue estimates, and price models—to create thoughtful business plans grounded in microeconomics theories. 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 looked a little different than previous years, adapting to a hybrid classroom, but the overall construct remained the same. The project concluded with presentations from the entrepreneurs to the “sharks” over Zoom. All students, whether or not they were in-person or remote, logged on to present over the online platform.
This year’s “panel of sharks” included:
Lisa Adkins, COO at Ingenuity Software Labs Inc, FatPipe NM, and The BioScience Center
Matthew Ayoub, an entrepreneur and founder of the company Media Trove
Tom White, a chef and restaurateur, owner of Il Vicino in Albuquerque
Mark Gilboard, a Business Consultant and Trainer at WESST, an organization that helps develop small businesses through consulting, training, lending, and incubation
Deanne Zirker, owner of Healthy Focus, a natural product sales brokerage in New Mexico
River Marquez, an account executive at Siarza Digital Social
“Preparing for the Shark Tank presentation was a bit nerve-wracking, as it was so different from presenting to my teachers or my peers,” said Miel ‘22, whose business titled “11 Project” centered on sustainable certification for organizations. Miel prepared by watching other pitches people had done and giving her own pitch to her cats, who were admittedly much easier to present to than the judges. “It was intimidating to have a panel of people I've never talked to pick apart a project, but it was still fun to hear what they saw with fresh eyes,” said Miel. “Afterwards I immediately felt like I wanted to revise my pitch and give it again to perfect it, but I was still really proud of the presentation I had given.”
“I'm so proud of her students and super thankful to the judges in these very strange times,” said Ms. Moore. “Having the students in a space where they could truly share their work was really awesome. I could see in their hearts and souls that it was meaningful to them,” she expressed. “I think they did great.”
“I think my biggest takeaway from this project is that there are people in the world who are willing to listen to and support big ideas,” Miel expressed. “I think it's important to remember that all creative ideas have value, and I'm grateful that I was able to share one of mine.”