The SPECTRUM

Volume 31

The SPECTRUM

The SPECTRUM

HW Venture Hosts Shark Tank Competition

Middle school Venture offers an opportunity for students to explore the business world, create and pitch products
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Camryn Banafsheha ’27
Luke Rascoff ’27 introduces the program before beginning presentations.

Business and entrepreneurship club HW Venture is closing out the year by hosting its second annual Shark Tank competition. Inspired by the reality television show Shark Tank, Venture co-leaders Luke Rascoff ‘27 and Aidan Elson ‘27 created this tradition for students interested in experiencing real world business scenarios.

The entire middle school body was invited to participate in or watch the competition that took place on Thursday May 24 in the Munger Library. A total of four teams took to the stage to present a product design with a corresponding business plan.

Rascoff shared that the event provides an opportunity for students to create and pitch a potential company while receiving valuable advice from professionals in the industry.

“This is the time when [students] can actually not only put together a pitch and present their ideas, but hear real feedback from adults both in their school community and who have created successful businesses themselves,” Rascoff said. “It’s a really great opportunity to get an entrepreneurial mindset built at the school.”

After all pitches were completed, a panel of four judges analyzed each group and decided on a winner based on various factors.

“[The judges] vote on the company they think shows the most creativity, which was presented the best, and has the most opportunity to be a successful company in the real world – all of those factors together,” Rascoff said.

Elsa Cheng ‘28 and Joshua Bie ‘28 won a $100 Amazon gift card and a plaque in their names as a prize for their product “Solar-UP”, a company designed to create more efficient and affordable solar panels. Bie shared that the experience allowed him to become familiar with useful concepts that are important in the business industry.

“I learned how to present a technical innovation from both financial and marketing perspectives. Attending Shark Tank exposed me to the process of financial forecasting and acquisition strategy,” Bie said. “All of the judges were very encouraging and supportive. It was truly a fun and enjoyable experience.”

Co-leader Julia Thomas ‘27 said that this event embodies the values of HW Venture and gives students the chance to bring their ideas into reality.

“[The leaders of Venture] are really interested in allowing people to practice doing entrepreneurship things or learning about business or different industries, or even doing public speaking activities by presenting in front of people,” Thomas said. “We think [Shark Tank] is a really fun opportunity for people who are interested in doing that.”

Rascoff shared that the turnout was on a much larger scale compared to the previous year. The rapid expansion of the program is sparking excitement among its creators as they begin to think about the future of HW Shark Tank.

“Last year we went from just a classroom with only a few people from inside our club to this year in the [Munger Library] and the whole school is invited,” Rascoff said. “That’s the mindset that we’re going to take into the upper school – how can we use the resources of the upper school, the interests of the upper school community to expand the event further?”

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About the Contributor
Camryn Banafsheha ’27 is a first year Spectrum reporter. She enjoys interviewing people, and she truly loves to write as a part of the journalism team. She started off writing as a hobby and loves to write formally for school. She writes the weekly Wolverweek, which gives an overview of the week’s events, athletics, and some funny fails from students. Banafsheha plans on joining the Chronicle at the upper school and to continue pursuing her passion for journalism. 
“I just love to write. It’s a great way for me to express myself, and I feel like it’s always been something I’ve been able to do.”
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