Joseph Lehman, manager of innovation and technology at Carpenter Technology Corp., with a Junior Achievement-sponsored business class in Wilson High School. (Credit Photo @ Reading Eagle)
With only three minutes to pitch a business idea to investors, Sahil Mishra explained the features of his group’s holographic computer and listed its potential users. Matt Hahn promised a 10 percent return through the end of a loan, and Mark Mulkeen added extra apps to his group’s product. The Wilson High School students made the pitches to the simulated boss – Wilson junior Brittnee Boyer and her three-member board. Their investment group split a fictional $25,000 and gave Hahn’s group more than half. “They touched on all of the things they were supposed to,” Boyer said. The exercise had students battling to create the best business in the new JA Titan program. Junior Achievement of Greater Reading and Lehigh Valley brought the program to Wilson and Kutztown high schools with the help of volunteers from the local business community. Over seven weeks, the program brings economic and management lessons to classrooms though discussions and an interactive business simulations. The students set up businesses that would produce and sell holographic computers in 2035. The program is available through Junior Achievement groups across the nation, including the local organization. Dennis Kintzer, owner of DMK Sound Productions, is teaching a class at Kutztown, and Joseph Lehman, manager of innovation and technology at Carpenter Technology Corp., is leading the Wilson class. The online component of the program is different from many Junior Achievement programs, which usually bring corporate volunteers into classrooms, said Ellen Albright, program manager for the local Junior Achievement. “The interactive portion of this program is a hit with the students,” she said. In the business-simulation program, students do things like set prices, decide how much to produce, buy advertising and marketing, and invest in capital equipment. On Thursday, the students at Wilson’s entrepreneurship class stepped away from the computers for a lesson on business pitches. “The pitch is everything,” he said. “We’re putting you guys into the shark tank.” After the pitches were done and the investors made up their minds, Lehman pointed out what he liked from each group. The first group was already talking about the second generation of products. The second group immediately brought up return on investment, and the third group talked about product innovations, he said. However, no one explained they needed the money to expand capacity. Teacher Stefanie Wagner brought the JA Titan program to her classroom to keep things interesting. “I was looking for something to make my classes more exciting and bring in some real world and make some networking connections for my students,” she said. Within two weeks, one of the student businesses will be named the winner, based on a performance index, where profit plays a large role. In the future, the students will be able to compete against other schools around the country because the business simulation is online, Albright said. Contact Erin Negley: 610-371-5047 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source : Reading Eagle