Courtesy of the Greenfield Daily Reporter
As part of their capstone project, fourth graders at Fortville Elementary School got to pitch business ideas to sharks in a take on the popular TV show “Shark Tank.”
On Friday, Fortville Elementary hosted its own shark tank event, featuring entrepreneur Moziah Bridges as one of the sharks. Bridges is the 16-year-old owner of Mo’s Bows, a fashion company selling handcrafted bow ties. Bridges once appeared on “Shark Tank” and his company has now sold more than $600,000 worth of products and recently launched a partnership with the NBA.
Bridges encouraged all of the students watching the event to dream big and not feel like they couldn’t do something because of their age. Bridges said he started his company when he was in fourth-grade after learning how to sew from his grandmother.
“Always keep going and never stop believing in yourself,” Bridges said. “I hope this event encourages all of you to do what you love.”
All the fourth-graders at Fortville had to develop a business plan as part of a capstone project. Throughout the semester, those groups were whittled down until only four groups were left, one from each class.
Those four groups got to present their business to a panel of six sharks that included Bridges and Kevin Prefontaine, president of Indianapolis-based Family Leisure. Fortville Elementary principal Stacy Muffler and teachers Fred Bays, Lydgia Quinn and John Reifel rounded out the panel.
The event was based closely on the show “Shark Tank” where entrepreneurs meet a panel of business moguls and pitch their product or service. The entrepreneurs then ask the “sharks” for an investment in exchange for a stake in their company or royalties from sales.
The four final products were Dip-z, a dip product designed to get children to eat vegetables; SJS Smoothie Pops, a healthy alternative to popsicles; a dog-walking service called Good Cause for Paws and H2O Co. Engines which featured a team that created a prototype for a water powered engine.
Each group started with a product commercial the students had to create themselves on school iPads. Then they pitched their product to the panel before asking for an investment amount in order to grow their product. The panelists would then ask a series of questions about the product that the students would have to answer. Similar to the “Shark Tank” show, some on the panel back out because they aren’t interested, while others make counter-offers asking for more of an ownership stake or offering less money. Most of the students had more than one offer that they would have to weigh before making a final decision.
Bays, who designed the economy and entrepreneurship project said it is designed to ensure the students use several different skills often without realizing it. Science, social studies, finance, math and persuasive writing are some of the biggest factors in these projects, Bays said.
“Their group projects encompass 63 Indiana state standards,” Bays said. “Students are likely unaware of all the learning factors and personal growth in completing this project.”
by GDR Reporter Zach Osowski