Much like the ABC TV's reality show "Shark Tank," students of the UAHS Entrepreneurship Class recently navigated the treacherous waters of a six-judge panel attempting to convince them to invest in their start-up businesses.

Much like the ABC TV's reality show "Shark Tank," students of the UAHS Entrepreneurship Class recently navigated the treacherous waters of a six-judge panel attempting to convince them to invest in their start-up businesses.

In its third year, the course introduces students to the concepts integral to starting a business, with the capstone project being that all students develop and present a business plan of their proposed company.

After a peer review, four students went before a panel of local businesspersons and were evaluated on three core criteria: the preparation of their written business plan, their completeness in articulating their business plan in an oral presentation and finally, their ability to convince the judges, as "prospective investors," to financially support their proposed business plans.

The four finalists are to be recognized at the UA Area Chamber's annual meeting for their project excellence. Additionally, project sponsor Economic and Community Development Institute, ECDI.org, awarded each student an opportunity to attend one of its upcoming Microenterprise Development Classes.

While all four were deemed worthy of consideration, the judges felt Collin Stewart earned exceptional merit recognition.

Collin Stewart (Ceres Capital Management LLC): Collin explored being a personal financial adviser focusing on the ability to create wealth through the exchange of foreign currencies. His breadth of knowledge of the subject matter was noteworthy and included a "proprietary system" to evaluate timing of trades to maximize profits. His testing of the system resulted in a 75+ percent success rate and his nimbleness with answers questions about his project was remarkable.

The other three students provided a mix of products and services to consider.

Anna Cadwallader (MathMax math tutoring): Anna showcased her experience as a practicing tutor and her strong verbal communications skills to present a comprehensive understanding of market differentiation and a growth plan that was both modest and practical. Drew Sandbo (Go Clean Car & Dog Wash): Drew displayed an incredible time commitment to understanding the challenges of his marketplace and the risk/rewards of opening his operation. His mixing of two business uses in one facility helped to increase traffic. Andrew Pottschmidt (Tropic Edge fashion sports apparel): Andrew presented the most "inspired" idea of the group, with his unique idea of Hawaiian-print football jerseys in team colors of popular teams. Andrew's enthusiasm and his understanding of the pitfalls of such an operation, such as licensing and his insightful thoughts on viral marketing made him a standout, as did his prototype modeled by a classmate.
The 2010 course increased its utilization of local business people in the program both as mentors and class speakers.

UAHS teacher Jennifer Brenning noted, "The mentors' involvement throughout the semester sparked students' imaginations and challenged them to produce more thoughtful final projects."

Though the class just concluded for 2010, planning has already begun for next year. Teachers and chamber members are meeting to refine business curriculum and are intrigued about expanding the curriculum and the potential for more students to be evaluated in future years. Future initiatives may include looking into participating with other high schools in business plan competitions.

Noted chamber president Becky Hajost, "The commitment and interest of all involved can only enhance Upper Arlington High School to become one of the premier business curriculums in the region, if not the state."


Judges
Ryan Smalley First Merit Bank Rose Roman - Commerce National Bank Robert Kehoe ECDI Jim Hyre Hyre & Associates Becky Hajost Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce Matt Shad Deputy City Manager - Economic Development

School Mentors & Guest Speakers
Wesley Newhouse, Newhouse, Prophater, Letcher, and Moots LLC Mark Carpenter, Sprint Cellular Jim Hyre, Raymond James Financial Services Tony Macaluso, Coldwell Banker King Thompson, Macaluso Landscaping Herb Gillen, Herb Gillen Agency Robert Radcliff, Resource Development Group Mark Pottschmidt, Stanbery Development Al Steigerwalt, Cartridge World Eric Columbo, The Arlington Bank Ann Jacobs, Sales Manager-Clear Channel Columbus Radio