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Stoughton High Students Market Themselves for Business Plan Competition

After spending weeks of designing every phase of a mock business, four groups of marketing students at Stoughton High will be competing at the 2012 Future Entrepreneurs Series: Youth Business Plan Competition on May 15.

In the course of a semester long, five to six week project, students built mock businesses from the bottom up, coming up with a product, a company name, designing a logo, and figuring out costs for financing - be it start-up costs or funding for marketing.

After spending weeks developing comprehensive 50-60 page business plans in their Marketing II class at SHS, four groups of students (12 in total) received qualifying scores to take part in the second round of the 2012 Future Entrepreneurs Series: Youth Business Plan Competition through the Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board.

Each group will be delivering an oral presentation on their plan to business leaders and judges from the local area on May 15. From there, the first, second, and third place winners of the contest will each receive cash prizes,according to Kevin Smith, a Business/Technology Teacher at SHS.

The competition solicits original business plans from youth between the ages of 16-20, according to Smith. Six groups of Marketing II students at SHS submitted entries to the competition, with four of those groups advancing to the second round. This is the first time SHS students have entered the competition, Smith said.

These business plans range from a "trendy fashion and shoe company targeting urban youth style" to "an all-in-one desk mate that helps to eliminate clutter" to "an event planning company located in Lexington, that targets higher end clients and events" to "an e-commerce platform selling solar backpacks and solar energy supplies over the internet."

"The students spent many long hours developing their business strategies, creating marketing collateral, designing logos, and putting together an impactful sales presentation for both the classroom and the boardroom," Smith said.

The following student groups will be competing for the grand prize at the May 15 competition:

Arcane Clothing (Mark Phan, Mike Vulakh and Muhammed Mir)

  • A trendy fashion and shoe company targeting urban youth style 

The Handy Helper (Nick Aliquo, Brian Carter and Amanda Vito)

  • An all-in-one desk mate that helps to eliminate clutter

Imagination Inc. (Rebecca Goldberg, Morgan Ayers and Jade Paul)

  • An event planning company located in Lexington, MA that targets higher end clients and events 

Super Solar (Phil Falkof, Brian Kaplan and Christina Bacon)

  • An e-commerce platform selling solar backpacks and solar energy supplies over the internet

This classwork has plenty of real-life applications that can be used beyond the walls of SHS, students in the class said.

"It's extremely helpful for real-life experiences. Mr. Smith always says marketing is a part of everyday life. You have to market yourself for jobs," Vito, of the "Handy Helper" group said.

A project like this "gets you thinking about things you wouldn't normally think about, like return on investment" Kaplan, of the "Super Solar" group said.

In Kaplan's group's case, they realized there would be a big cost savings starting with an internet, home-based business, rather than having a storefront.

"It inspired me to open my eyes that I can do something with business," Phan, of the "Arcane Clothing" group said.

In his group's case, Phan said they realized they had to have knowledge of shoes and be able to connect with the customers to have success.

For Paul, who was part of the "Imagination Inc." group, she found when presenting a business plan it's best to be concise. "It's better to get to the point," she said. Paul is planning on being a finance and business major in college and said a project like this will help with that aspiration.

The quality of the projects "blew me away," Smith said.

"I knew this was a good class, [but they] went beyond my expectations with phenomenal ideas," he added. "I want to see some of them start their businesses."

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