Shark Tank

Students in Ms. Moore’s economics class took the plunge into the deep sea of economics through an inquiry project in entrepreneurship—the fourth 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 past month, Ms. Moore’s economics students connected microeconomic principles—such as determinants of supply and demand, costs of production, profit and revenue estimates, and price models—to create thoughtful business plans grounded in microeconomics theories. 
 
A few business and product ideas this year included: “Plug It,” a resealable can to prevent spills, loss of carbonation, and waste; “Revive Energy Gum,” a gum that will give its chewers a caffeinated kick; “Powercurl,” a curly-hair-care subscription box curated for African Americans; and “Remedy,” a medical app designed to provide medical advice, prescription management, and more.
 
A panel of “sharks” heard the pitches for these businesses and products. This year, that panel included:
  • Matthew Fontana, retired divisional senior vice president and chief medical officer, pharmacy with Health Care Service Corporation
  • Matthew Ayoub, startup and real estate investor, co-founder Daedalus Technology Group
  • Jonathan Wolfe, founder and executive director of the Fractal Foundation, a social enterprise nonprofit transforming science and math education, co-founder of MeWe.com, a social network with over 18 million members and competitor to Facebook, IT director at Project ECHO, an education technology startup born at UNM and operating in over 50 countries
  • Mark Gilboard, director of marketing strategy and business consultant at WESST, an organization that helps develop small businesses through consulting, training, lending, and incubation
 
After seeing similar projects online and drawn to the hands-on approach it would provide to students, Ms. Moore was inspired to incorporate the Shark Tank project into her classroom—adapting the premise to fit her curriculum. In her words, “We can’t just teach a topic—we have to apply it.” 
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