Project Venture: The Able Trust’s High School High Tech Business Development Competition
Some of the hardest skills to learn are workplace communication and problem solving. And perhaps the best way to learn these skills is by experience but that is not necessarily available to high school students. The Able Trust decided to do something about it by creating Project Venture.
Project Venture challenges high school students to develop a business plan proposal and accompanying commercial. The goal isn’t necessarily to develop the next Starbucks, Slap Chop or phone app, but rather to put students into a situation where they are developing real-world applicable skills: working in groups, delegating, timelines, written communications, problem solving, and “Big Picture” thinking to name a few. This competition allows students to develop and hone their communication, critical thinking and team work skills in a workplace related simulation.
The Able Trust is helping their journey by providing Project Venture as an opportunity to be as close to ready once they enter the workforce or post-secondary education. Some students can learn by hearing; some by seeing; and still others by doing. Project Venture ensures that all types of learners are being addressed. But who knows, a team may develop the next million-dollar idea.
Project Venture Overview
Workplace communication takes many forms: email, face-to-face meetings, instant messaging, video conferencing, and phone conferences are just a few of the methods. This competition should allow students to develop and hone their communication, critical thinking and team work skills in a workplace related simulation.
Each High School High Tech (HSHT) site is encouraged to build interest and develop a team to participate. Early promotion and adoption will allow HSHT sites to incorporate the competition into their year plans.
Teams will submit their commercials and business plans for judging at the regional level. There is no in-person presentation to complete at this level. One winner from each region will advance to the state competition where teams will submit their business plan, commercial and make their present to the judges.
Regions will be determined to ensure equity of teams competing, not geographic area.
There is no limit to the number of students participating on a team. However, a maximum of four students may participate in the presentation portion at the state competition level. All students participating in the presentation must speak during the course of the presentation. The presentation can utilize presentation tools such as Power Point or Prezi.
Business Plan Format
The business plan should be typed in size 12, in Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri font with 1” margins. The plan must contain the following elements listed below. If they wish, students may include pictures, photographs or other illustrative pieces with their plan. The final plan including any supplemental materials should not exceed ten pages in total length.
Business Plan Components
Teams will need to develop a plan that includes the following components:
- Executive Summary
- Company Name
- Product/service overview
- Market/customer overview
- Product Name (if applicable)
- Detailed product description
- Plans for manufacturing/delivery/preparation
- Market needs assessment
- Customer and market need
- Typical customer profile
- Any additional research that may need to be done
- Sample advertisement: 30 second video commercial
- Operations and Management
- Ownership and business type
- Location and major start up needs
- Human resource needs
Teams must also submit a 30 second video commercial advertising their product or service. The commercial can be sent to the Able Trust via flash drive or uploaded to a web-based service such as YouTube and a link provided to Able Trust staff. The commercial must contain appropriate language and imagery as would a standard commercial seen on broadcast television.
Team competing in the state level competition will need to present to the judges on their business plan and their product or service. The presentation should fall between 10-20 minutes in length. Students should dress in business attire for the presentation. The student’s presentation should mimic a presentation given in a professional setting or potential group of investors. The presentation should cover the components of the business plan and go into detail where appropriate.
- Students may be adult advised, but the product/service concept and competition materials must be student created.
- Students advancing to state competition should be dressed in business professional attire.
- Each HSHT program/site may only enter one team into competition.
HSHT sites must notify the Able Trust of their intent to participate in the competition by December 4th. Complete competition materials for the regional contest are due to The Able Trust in March. The state competition will be held in April.