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Shark Tank teaches business world lessons

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The judges for the Shark Tank project were, from left, Chris Hill, Mike Ekstrom and David Tercek. Lake Oswego High School teacher Chris Hill took a page from popular culture to teach his Income and Money Management classes about real-world business this fall.

Following the premise of the ABC-TV show “Shark Tank,” he had students create businesses and present their company’s products to local businessmen.

“The learning exercise ... allows the students to experience and learn about finance, marketing and management, using a real-world business situation,” Hill said. “The premise of the show and this exercise is that budding entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of wealthy business people, called ‘sharks,’ in hopes of securing an investment for their company. The students (entrepreneurs) worked alone, or paired up, and were given two and a half weeks to come up with a business concept and basic business plan in preparation for the event. The students then presented their business idea and (tried) to secure ‘venture capital’ from the sharks in exchange for equity in their company.”

Hill enlisted his friends Mike Ekstrom, a professional baseball player who is involved in his family’s tree farm business, and David Tercek, a salesman in the food industry, to act with him as the sharks for the project.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Students Nick Gadians, left, and Edward Kang present their product, Jacked-Up, a device that plugs into a cellphone to keep the sports fan up to date with all the latest news about his or her favorite team.

Hill gave students a presentation rubric calling for a business name, mission statement, logo, product list, statement on why the business would be successful, how they would use investment money, a floor plan or website, types of customers, grand opening details, two advertisements and an advertising plan.

The ideas for companies and products ran a wide gamut. Among the more notable were:

  • Jack’d Up, a device that plugs into a cellphone to keep the avid sports fan up to date with the latest news about his or her team.
  • A chair packed with all the gizmos a college student would need: a cool pad on which to place a laptop, a lamp over the shoulder, storage, a cup holder and more.
  • Roll Ties, a Netflix-type of business for renting neck ties.
  • Socks made of temperature-sensing fiber that heated up or cooled down, depending on the wearer’s temperature.
  • A “Capaphone Beanie” equipped with wireless Internet so the wearer could listen to music while snowboarding or during other activities.
  • In addition, several students focused on creating restaurants or cafes serving their favorite teas, cupcakes or coffees.

    One of the most useful and ingenious products was created by freshman Richard Alvarez. He developed SkooHoo, an iPhone application that would provide a new student with all the information he or she might need to succeed at LOHS. Information regarding classes, schedules, homecoming traditions, etc., was covered in his app.

    “Richard’s app has real potential,” said Hill. “It is something we could potentially use at the school.”by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Students Aidan Kelly, left, and Cole Sher-Jan created a business called Painting Perfection, which allows customers to virtually see how the paint job they envisioned would actually look completed.

    “I enjoyed doing this,” said sophomore Sanders Li. “I liked how we were able to create any type of business we wanted and actually get ideas of what we could do.”

    “It was a fun experiment and I got to work on a subject I like. It was helpful,” said freshman Julliana Yoon.



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