by Sheri Regnier,
West Kootenay Advertiser
Students across the Boundary and West Kootenays are asked to put on their creative thinking caps and join a one-of-a-kind junior business competition.
The Junior Dragons Den is launching for a second year through Community Futures of Greater Trail and includes a Grade 8-10 category and a Grade 11-12 senior group.
This year, the wit-and-brain challenge has opened up to include college, university and trades school students who might have a trick or two up their sleeves.
“There is really no limit for what can be submitted, and can include absolutely everything from hair extensions to cell phone apps,” said John Reed, entrepreneurial services coordinator for Community Futures.
“It’s super fun and we are looking for people to come out and view the show,” he added. “It’s live electronic voting so when you vote for your favourite, that accounts for 20 per cent of the mark the junior dragons will get for their presentations.”
The Feb. 28 deadline for entries is coming up fast for the big night, which is slated for May 1 in downtown Trail’s Charles Bailey Theatre.
There’s already a business education class at J.L. Crowe Secondary burrowing down to come up with ideas that range from low tech innovations to more complex and high-tech notions.
“Right now we are in the concept stage and students are sharing their ideas in class,” explained Grade 10 teacher Deborah Dovgala.
“Other students are allowed to share their concerns about an idea but no one is allowed to be a ‘dream buster.’ It is a true Inquiry Project (collaborative research).”
The students are excited about sharing their thoughts, she continued, and have been coming up with ways to improve the concepts of their peers.
“It is super fun,” Dovgala said. “It may not be as fun to grunt through the business plan when the time comes, but they know what is coming and are up for the challenge.”
Once the students narrow down ideas and choose which ones to proceed with, they are required to submit a two-page business concept along with a 90-second video describing their enterprise plan.
a junior dragon selection committee then reviews all submissions and shortlists the most promising applications—last year there were 24 for the final show.
That’s just the beginning. Those chosen to move onto the actual event, are then paired up with a mentor in the business community who will help the student evolve the idea into a formal business plan and shoot an updated video clip.
Last year’s winners included a Grade 8 Castlegar student’s Fresh Skin Care line, two senior Crowe students for a sports apparel line called Ebon Supply Co., and a Grade 12 Crowe student’s innovative video company.
“There is a lot of learning going on,” Dovgala noted. “Students have emailed supplies, investigated pricing, and contacted marketing directors. It’s great to watch the students get excited about it.”
Cash prizes (last year totaling $10,000) will be awarded to the top junior dragons. For more information, or to submit to the competition, visit juniordragonsden.ca or phone Reed at 250-364-2595 ext. 28.