Seycove Secondary grade 12 students Claudia Hart and Jesse Yeo have their business projects on display at the 10th annual Seycove Dragon's Den Entrepreneurial Fair.
For grade 12 economics students at Seycove Secondary School their learning from the year comes down to this – business attire, excited nerves, and their chance to pitch their business ideas to working professionals. The 10th annual Dragon's Den Entrepreneurial Fair is the culminating project for the school's Economics 12 students. At the event, students present their individual and original small business plans to adults from the world of work and business.
"Our students' ideas are creative, quirky, and in many cases, full of potential," said Kerry Henderson, teacher at Seycove Secondary and one of the organizers of the annual Dragon's Den event.
Henderson, along with fellow Economics 12 teacher Gord Muter, passionately support the students every year to prepare their business plans for the event.
"The kids take this entrepreneurial fair very seriously. It is a way for them to take their passions, combine these passions with what they have learned in class, and connect them to the real world of business professionals," said Muter.
For the project, students first determine the area of interest they would like to explore, then they determine a need they can potentially address, and finally they draft a business plan to meet this need. Coming up with ideas is not easy, according to grade 12 students Jesse Yeo and Claudia Hart, but when ideas did begin to surface it was a very powerful experience.
"You get to see everyone's creativity and passion come out," said Yeo.
Yeo decided to focus her business plan on humanitarian work and the need she has seen while travelling developing nations for efforts directed specifically at waste cleanup in communities. William George, on the other hand, focused his project on the high tech sector. He also was inspired by travelling and created a plan to create a lightweight, affordable, instant voice activated translator worn around the neck.
"There is a lot of competition in the digital translator sector, but by partnering with already existing companies my unique design can be leveraged," explained George.
All of the plans contain detailed market and cost analyses. The full detailed plans are what the students have on display for the Dragon's Den event. The displays are set-up in the Seycove library and business professionals have been invited to peruse the displays and engage in conversation with the students about their small business plans.
"This event has become so well known in our community that working professionals actually call us asking if they can be invited to take part," said Henderson.
This year, 35 professionals took part. Their expertise ranged from architecture, import and export trade, information technology, marketing, food services, law, and even one member of the Senate. The event is popular with working professionals and with the students.
"This is Seycove's 10th annual Dragon's Den fair and it's always a great experience. We routinely receive emails from past students saying, 'one of the best things I ever did in school'," said Muter.