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Students’ Business Proposals Deftly Fill Perceived Needs in the Community
At the end of the semester, Business Management students at D.C. Everest Senior High are given the opportunity to present their business plans to leaders in the community. It’s the culmination of weeks of work — a real world entrepreneurship exercise that requires detailed, thoughtful research to complete a solid and plausible business plan.
During the presentations, it immediately became clear that students had given substantial consideration to what “gaps” exist in central Wisconsin and how best to fill them. The business plans primarily focused on entertainment opportunities. One student entrepreneur made a compelling pitch for a retro roller rink with a vintage flair that would appeal to both younger and older sectors of her targeted markets. A second group outlined a detailed plan for an indoor entertainment center featuring a trampoline park, laser tag and arcade games. Yet another set of entrepreneurs presented a plan featuring a combination AirSoft/Paintball enterprise that provided year-round entertainment with indoor and outdoor courses.
One enterprising student group honed in on the lack of a high-end clothing store in the area that caters to both men and women — pitching their idea for a downtown retail location that would do just that. Four students made a case for a locally owned, inexpensive, family-oriented breakfast diner that would offer a differentiated experience from chain restaurants.
The business leaders and representatives from local government who attended the presentations made frequent commentary on the presentations — noting, quite often, the students’ keen ability to identify a need in the community and commending their expansive market research, SWOT analyses, detailed layouts and well-scouted locations. They also questioned the entrepreneurs — diving into the specifics of the plans, marketing strategies and management structures.
Jennifer Gipp, Business and Information teacher, said this is her favorite part of the class. “I love to see how the students take the information we learned in class and put it into their business plans. This assignment really opens their eyes to what planning for a new business entails.”
Superintendent Gilmore, who attended the presentations, remarked on how well the students had addressed the needs of their targeted markets and defined their business differentiators. “The retro roller rink appealed to a number of the community leaders in the room because we’d all hung out at High Roller when we were kids. The student definitely understood her target market,” she noted with a laugh. “All of the students really hit the mark when they described the appeal of their business. They did a great job defining their audiences, differentiating their idea and then constructing a viable business around that idea.”