From the WVHS Marketing Class:
Before school let out for Christmas break, Walker Valley High School students presented business plans they wrote in their entrepreneurship class to six local business professionals.
The event, modeled after the TV show “Shark Tank,” allowed students to practice pitching business ideas. Sixteen students pitched their ideas and most were offered investments in this fabricated scenario.
The “sharks” included Jennie DeCook and Robert Hotchkiss of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Cleveland State Community College, Tim Moore and Alexis Willis of The Company Lab, certified public accountant Libby Starkman and Stacy Swafford of Tennessee Wesleyan College.
The following young entrepreneurs presented the following business plans:
– Abby Bagley — Diamonds & Pearls, an online accessory boutique;
– Zac Barker — The Food Bank, a nonprofit that provides food and shelter;
– Jean Bruno — SBGnewyork, an affluent online apparel store;
– Kelsey Cassada — Golf Vines, an online golf apparel and training business;
– Sydney Cline — Bloom, a daycare and learning center in Chattanooga
– Kylahia Dejesus — KMDistinctive, an online personal stylist business;
– SarahJo Ellis — The Trading Place, a shopping and entertainment venue in Cleveland;
– Zach Eslinger — The Sporting Dome, an athletic training equipment brick-and-mortar in Cleveland;
– Bobby Lee Formont — Wylie’s, a southern style restaurant with nightly alternative country music located in Asheville, N.C.;
– Taylor Hawke — HOME, an online trendy home goods store
– Caroline Logan — Happy Hippy Hill, a traveling store with an array of eclectic and vintage products;
– Jeremy Pope — InstruMusic, a downloadable music collection of local and national artists;
– Rochelle Reinhard — The Cleveland Art Gallery, an online and local traveling art curation business;
– Christopher Robinson — Days of Tomorrow, a brick-and-mortar business that customizes household appliances;
– Stratton Rose — EZ Target, an expansion of his existing business, an outdoor target system for gun enthusiasts;
– Brett Williams — Labor Sons, a convenient service that employs reliable college students to complete household tasks.
The students explained their proposals then answered several of the “sharks’” questions.
The questions ranged from financial calculations to distribution and marketing strategies.
“The experience offered opportunities for the students to network, practice professionalism, written and verbal communication skills as well as receive free, productive feedback from expert,” marketing teacher Jayla Swafford said. “The students handled themselves well and rose to the occasion.”
Next school year, the “Shark Tank” event is expected to return to the Entrepreneurship course. For students to be eligible for this experience, the prerequisite course is Marketing & Management 1.
A proposed addition to the Walker Valley’s marketing program next year is being planned for students who have taken the entrepreneurship and advertising and public relations courses. Those two courses provide skills to help students effectively operate a business, so a potential capstone course is being considered. These trained students undertake the project of running a school store.
A school representative said the future looks “exciting” for the marketing program at Walker Valley.