Greensboro Day School’s Senior United States Government and Economics class finished the first unit of the spring semester with a project based on the ABC show “Shark Tank.” Teachers Anthony Piacenza and Tomarra Hall hoped to contextualize the content of a unit about basic economic questions and theories by using entrepreneurship to encourage student exploration of these concepts.
Coincidentally, GDS Dean Jennifer Ford was contacted by the ENACTUS Club at High Point University, who wanted to invite our seniors to take part in their now-annual high school Shark Tank Competition. Some members of the club, which focuses on entrepreneurship, met with our students to explain the rules and structure of the HPU competition –to be held on Wednesday, March 12 – and did a Q&A about entrepreneurship and sales pitches.
Though our students are not required to take part in the HPU competition, they did have to present a unique product or service of their own design to a panel of GDS “sharks” to complete their unit project. Each student invented or designed a product and a business model for getting their idea off the ground and making it profitable, with the only missing piece being a generous investment by our deep-pocketed sharks. Teachers and staff from all divisions, and senior students themselves, listened to sales-pitches, asked questions, and presented competing “offers” to each young entrepreneur. With ideas ranging from dissolvable packets for drink additives, and new spins on gyms and workout equipment, to countless smartphone apps and even edible tape to hold food together, our students displayed both their creativity and their growing understanding of what it takes to start and grow a business from idea to a global company. In the coming months, our seniors will see if any of their presentations turn into prize-winning efforts at the High Point University competition.