Students come face to face with Sharks

A GUTTER guard, a retro arcade and a drive-through laundromat were three of the ideas presented by St Stanislaus’ College students as they faced their own Shark Tank this week.

HARD SELL: Jed Englert presents his business idea to Karyn Taylor, Kristi McCusker and James Kelly during the Shark Tank exercise at Stannies. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 080917pbshark3

HARD SELL: Jed Englert presents his business idea to Karyn Taylor, Kristi McCusker and James Kelly during the Shark Tank exercise at Stannies. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 080917pbshark3

In the second year of the exercise, year 11 Stannies business studies students presented a business idea and plan to the three Sharks – Bathurst business people – as part of a school assessment.

The exercise is modelled on the television program in which entrepreneurs pitch an idea to a panel of business identities to try to secure finance. 

Stannies director of administration Victoria Hughes said the format encouraged the students to break what is a large project down into more manageable chunks.

She said there was also a benefit in presenting their ideas to an “authentic audience”.

“It makes them conscientious because they are not just presenting to the teacher,” she said.

“The pressure is on to make sure they do a good job for these people from downtown.”

There were 27 students who presented their ideas during the day at Stannies.

“It's a big day, but it’s really worthwhile,” Ms Hughes said.

She said she was regularly amazed by the change in students who go from being worried about presenting their idea to standing up with confidence as they face the three Sharks.

She said the students were asked to detail their suppliers, their equipment costs, where they saw the future of their business, their staff costs, their marketing and their projected cash flow for the first six months of the business.

The pressure is on to make sure they do a good job for these people from downtown. - Stannies director of administration Victoria Hughes

Ms Hughes said Scott Taylor from Al Dente spoke to the students and showed them his own business plan, which reinforced that the concepts they have been learning are not just theory but are used in “real life”.

The Sharks this year were James Kelly, a partner in Bake, Table and Tea, manager of Residence Life at CSU and former owner of the Knickerbocker Hotel; Kristi McCusker, the owner of KMC Legal; and Karyn Taylor, a freelance business development and marketing consultant.

”It’s a big ask for three business people to be away from their businesses for a full day and Stannies appreciates them giving generously of their time,” Ms Hughes said.

And the overall verdict from the Sharks?

They said they had seen some clever entrepreneurs of the future during their day at Stannies – and they wouldn’t be surprised if the drive-through laundromat ends up becoming a reality.

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