Student Voices: Developing a Business Venture – Dragons’ Nest

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The Dragons’ Nest, a new program at The Learning Partnership, is an in-class high school business program. It was designed to encourage students to explore their creative and entrepreneurial potential, and help them identify and build confidence in their entrepreneurial abilities by creating a real business venture. The Learning Partnership matches mentors from the business community with teachers in order to ignite a passion for entrepreneurism in the classroom. Two regional activities, a video pitch and a Dragons’ Nest Finale are organized in semester two to provide a challenging environment for students to strengthen their go-to-market skills. The Dragons’ Nest Finalists in the GTA program are given automatic entry to the Launch Zone at Ryerson Summer Company with up to $3,000 to operate their venture and generate income in the summer.

 

Students from RH King Academy and Meadowvale SS

Collaboration, Decision-making & Passion

“I had to develop collaborative skills as I worked in group with six other students. We were a large group to make decisions on what product to develop, make marketing decisions and decide which charity to donate our $400 dollars of profit to.”  – Kerthana, Grade 12 student, part of a sand art keychain business venture group.

“I discovered a love for engineering. As I built my product, which was customizable headphones with a cord that did not tangle, I realized I loved taking the headphones apart and rebuilding them. Now I know a field that I want to study further. I also learned about the importance of what other people think and how that will affect my business.” –Cole, Grade 10 student who created headphones that don’t tangle.

“The main benefit I saw of having a business representative assess my business was that their feedback was very helpful and helped me expand my business. I developed business and leadership skills from the experience and these skills will go with me into the future.” Abbi, Grade 12 student with a button canvas art business.

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Benefits of Meeting the Dragons (mentors)

“We believe that the main advantages of having a business representative (Dragon) as opposed to a teacher or a friend, are that you learn from their experiences and you think from their perspective. You can learn a lot about how they judge your presentation, such as the questions that they ask. In the end it’s all about learning a lot from them.

You can learn from their struggles, and the hardships of running their own startups. The Dragons are very goal oriented about how to drive their business further by understanding current customers, the target market, and how to deliver an efficient product or service to their clients. The business representative was ultimately a really good mentor for our business venture.

We learned a lot about professionalism for example business attire, and how to speak to clients. We learned that whatever industry you are in, in order to be successful, you need to have drive, passion, and to be engaged and immersed in the industry.” – Saad, Shayan, Anuj, Rohti, all Grade 10 students.

Impact on Future Learning & Career

“Through Dragons’ Nest and the feedback from the Dragons we learned that we should be constantly on the look out for new opportunities to scale our company. We learned that exposure on social media is very important for today’s business. They helped us plan our business for the future, such as aspects of our business venture we could fix, how to improve our pitches such as financials like income statement or cash flow statement. Dragons’ Nest set us in the right direction. Dragons’ Nest taught us how to plan a business and take the plunge. It gave us opportunities and connected us with many contacts. We learned to ask the right questions that will guide our company’s future: How impactful we are? How creative and how innovative are we? How can we serve the community?”

Anuj, Rohit, Saad and Shayan are Grade 10 students who designed and launched a marketing group that enables small businesses to market to the students in nearby schools.

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Michael Brown, grades 10 and 12 teacher from RH King Academy said:

“I used Dragons’ Nest in my grade 10 and grade 12 classes as a forum to get students engaged and excited about starting a business. Participating in Dragons’ Nest and going before the Dragons is a great incentive. The program is very well organized and provides a forum for students to network, gain experience, meeting business people, receive feedback and connect to related programs.”

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