Fifteen junior high school student entrepreneurs from Palatine Township Elementary School District 15 recently underwent a virtual "Shark Tank" experience, asking for financial support of their business from a panel of local investors.
The class is facilitated by the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce
The event was part of the district's Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), a national program that guides young students through the process of starting a real business. The work includes developing a business plan, pitching it to an investor panel, obtaining funding, launching the venture and managing media campaigns.
E-commerce and web development, sales events, and trade shows are also part of the process.
The student entrepreneurs had five minutes to pitch their business plans to a panel of "investors" comprising four local business representatives. The panel evaluated the plans and split $5,000 donated by local businesses among the students.
This year, the event was virtual and students prerecorded presentations.
Funding was based on the feasibility of the business plan and the student's presentation to the panel. Each entrepreneur received at least $100 for their business.
The top investment went to Ishaan Batra, who will be attending eighth grade at Walter Sundling Junior High. His company, Flavorfy, a subscription based service to help people with dietary restrictions. Ishaan received $940 from the investment panel and will represent District 15 in August at the YEA! national competition in Rochester, New York.
Launched in 2004 at the University of Rochester, YEA! focuses on themes of driving innovation, viewing the world in new ways, recognizing opportunities, valuing risk taking, networking, providing solutions and creating value.
With the help of local business mentors, students learn to recognize the power of their ideas, and develop the skills necessary to turn those ideas into meaningful enterprises.
In addition to Ishaan, students participating in the investor panel and their businesses included Spandna Manne, MyPawPrince; Anne Austin, Le Mélange; Jason Zhou, UValue; Adarsh Prathap, Super Sole; Alyssa Martin, Twilights!; Zuyu (Alex) Liu, RoomComplete; Daoud Hussain, Air Chips; Mithun Arun, Nature's Gateway; Arvind Kakanavaram, Symphonik; KC Solberg, Spread the Yo; Aditya Gupta, Chess Pros; Sanjaya Maheswaram, CallicardsUSA; Ashish Kashyap, SmartShower; and Paul Choi & Aakarsh Sehgal, The PAP.