So proud to be on the panel of “Shark Tank” today at Mission Bay High where Business 100 class students pitch their fictional business plan to business leaders from around San Diego. Students present their plan to the “sharks” and ask for mock financial assistance in exchange for equity in the fictional business. Students begin the Shark Tank project by assuming the role of an entrepreneur tasked with devising a proprietary, practical invention that can be a product or service. They spend months developing a business plan for their invention while, along the way, learning important business concepts from the course outline. Skills align with the Common Core State Standards, specifically critical thinking and problem solving.

In developing their inventions, students learn about the importance of legally protecting their company via a patent, and protecting their logo and tagline with a trademark. They learn the costs associated with leasing a space to conduct business operations. Additionally, they use those Common Core staples of critical thinking and problem solving to determine their cost of goods sold, distribution methods, marketing tactics and total start-up funds that would be required to launch their businesses. Skills learned in English class are reinforced, in that each Shark Tank assignment is accepted only if there are no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors.

At the project’s completion, students create a prototype and pitch their invention to real business owners, just like on the show. This year’s business invention ideas include voice-activated and controlled headphones, a retractable and expandable travel bag, and a stylish hat line with changeable brims — just to name a few!