On Monday, December 28, 2015, Mr. Hill’s Grade 11 Economics students took part in the second annual Dragon’s Den business competition. As part of their class curriculum, students were asked to create a brand new business and present it to a group of potential investors. Some highlights include Beijing’s newest sports and activities center; a restaurant where customers can bake their own goods and sweets; an app that allows users to record and produce their own karaoke songs; wearable holographic technology; and a sticker that ensures you’ll never lose your keys again.
This semester the students have been learning all about markets, the role of an entrepreneur in business, and the resources and costs associated with starting a new business. They had the choice of making their company a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a fully formed corporation. Students were given class time this past month dedicated to research and development of their company, and were to give a 3-5 minute “elevator pitch” and hand in a detailed 8-section business plan. “This activity is an excellent way for students to develop their presenting and ‘English-speaking skills,” says Mr. Hill, “it also forces them to think under pressure and perform in front of an audience. It’s a great way for students to think creatively and work as a member of a team.”
Parents of students and our investors, Marsha Wang, Chang Cheng and Wangqing Lu, acted as billionaires who were interested in investing in new and exciting businesses. After the elevator pitch the investors, or “Dragons”, asked questions to our new entrepreneurs to ensure that proper market research and competitive analysis was completed. The assignment is modeled after a popular Canadian television show called “Dragon’s Den”, which has many similar programs around the world, including Yíng Zài Zhōngguó in China. The volunteer Dragons were very impressed with the preparation and ability shown by the students during their presentations. It was clear a lot of work had gone into it, but there is always room for the students to improve on their ideas and to improve their speaking.