Ethan Woike

Nanaimo Christian School students pitch business ideas

NANAIMO – Dragon’s Den style event offers seed money for best ideas.

With new B.C. Ministry of Education curriculum focusing on hands-on learning, Nanaimo Christian School teachers used principles of CBC’s Dragon’s Den as a learning tool.

Students in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, a Grade 9-12 course, worked on business plans for items and services for the school store and had to make a pitch for funding Tuesday, according to Alexander Toews, one of the teachers.

Toews said the exercise allowed for students to take an idea, develop it and apply it in the real world, along with all the risks of real money, product and opinions. There was a panel of actual businesspeople, allowing students to present to a real audience instead of teachers, he said.

“Is it viable? How much is it going to cost to start up? How much do they plan to make? How are they going to pay back their loan? So right now they’re taking a loan against the program, so they’re going to have to pay that out. They have to have a plan for how is that going to be paid back,” Toews said.

A total of $1,000 was available to be split and there was the possibility one of the businesspeople could invest their own money as well, allowing for a market bigger than just classmates.

“Our goal is that it will all be divided, but as they’ve been [told] from the beginning, maybe their idea isn’t ready yet to be started and therefore, they’re going to have to wait until their idea has a better foundation, then they may receive the capital to start up their idea,” said Toews.

Philip Neaga and Dylan Waite were among students making a pitch for embroidering backpacks and shirts said it was a learning experience.

“I thought it was going to be really easy, we were going to wing through it and get the money,” said Waite. “They just tore us apart. Those questions were number-shredding. It was really hard,” said Neaga.

Bradyn Libbus and partners pitched the sale of fries, an idea well-received by the dragons, but one that still needs adjustments.

“They definitely hit you with some pretty good questions. I didn’t know that [canola oil isn’t allowed], but now I’m actually going to take a good look, researching that,” said Libbus.

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