Article by Angelica Chang

Illustration by Abhinav Subrimaniam

On December 20, ISM held the third annual Entrepreneurship Competition. Groups of 3-4 students from Grade 11 Business Management classes competed to create and pitch the most feasible and original product or service. The competition allowed students to explore and investigate the process of creating a business model through conducting research about their target market, and presenting a business pitch in the form of a commercial and a 5-minute presentation. This work was all in the hope of convincing potential financiers — students, teachers and local entrepreneurs — that their idea is the best one amongst the endless sea of competitive products.

“Students were evaluated based upon the originality of their product, whether or not they’ve accurately calculated the costs of the business, have successfully guaranteed a target market, determined a realistic marketing plan, and taken in consideration the prospects for the long-term profitability of their business,” says Mr. Richardson, Business and Management teacher.

Though the criteria appears daunting, all the components on the rubric are necessary for replicating the cutthroat competition of the real world. To win, it is essential for groups to follow the rubric. This year’s winning group is composed of juniors Bianca A., Shubh M., and Lina S., with their product called Fresh by Design, which Bianca explains is “a food truck that sells healthy, organic food, mainly consisting of gluten free and vegan options.”

They rose to the challenge by basing their product on an existing market which needed improvement. “Being vegan or gluten free couldn’t be as easy here as it is in cities such as L.A, so we decided to come up with a product that will fix this problem and could possibly serve as a base to expand and ameliorate the existing market,” says Bianca.

To guarantee the feasibility of their idea, Bianca says, “We changed it to be a food truck to make it more convenient towards our audience base and to make us stand out more within the market as there are quite a lot of vegan/gluten free restaurants already. We also made a rough calculation of our initial cost, and seeing the high value, along with reading about the likelihood of failure for start-up restaurants, made us change from a restaurant to a food truck.” The group’s flexible approach on customizing their product to best supply the needs of their target audience was a key factor for their success.

Contrary to her expectations, Bianca says, “The actual experience wasn’t as bad as I thought.” She added, “The judges suggested some ideas that would make our product better.” While extensive research and analytical skills are crucial elements for a business idea to flourish, Bianca states that the walk-around part of the competition brought out the importance of “presentation and people skills in getting people to hear what you have to say,” claiming it to be just of equal significance for a business idea to excel in the competitive world.

Although the competition had spanned only one and a half months, the skills acquired from this project can become an important asset in their future careers. Even Mr. Richardson expresses his absolute faith in the students’ newfound abilities, stating, “Some of these ideas could be potential businesses in real-life” — an impressive feat for a first-timer.

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