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Mini Plumbrook entrepreneurs jump into the shark tank

Plumbrook Elementary third graders can now say they swam with the sharks and emerged as a winner in business.

The students took part in a “Shark Tank” like scenario where they sought to convince an investor to take a shot at their business plan to raise funds to reduce the cost of a spring field trip.

“This project was a lot of fun,” said student Cooper Murphy. “I learned that hard work and taking responsibility mean success.”

PresentationBased on the successful reality business “Shark Tank” show, the students were asking for a loan from a local investor so that they could buy Better Made Potato Chips and Faygo pop to raise money for a bowling field trip in the spring.

The shark was actually local businessman Dan Wesner, owner of Wesner Tuxedo. Students addressed him as “Mr. Wesnerful,” a take on Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful – Canadian entrepreneur Kevin O'Leary.

Plumbrook teacher Jessica St. Laurent said the project gave students a real-world experience that they will hopefully never forget, as the project spans across various curricular subjects. Students also created a marketing video designed to seal the deal. 

“The students and families have been fantastic and extremely supportive,” St. Laurent said. “Students were exceptionally professional every step of the way, offering adults refreshments while also shaking hands, smiling, and thanking adults in the room for coming. A few students even visited Wesner Tuxedo prior to the business presentation but would not reveal any of their talking points or upcoming business proposal. I could not be more proud of these third graders!”

Students created a plan that was based on research they did on the favorite snack and pop of the 66 Plumbrook Elementary third graders. They found the cheapest distributor for their product (Sam’s Club) so that they can make the best profit using quality materials made locally in Michigan.

They also researched their investor.

“As a successful businessman, we’re sure you can appreciate our business plan,” student Lucian Faloug said during the presentation. “We know your company’s motto is to ‘Experience the Wesner Difference,’ so Mr. Wesnerful, will you please make a difference in our third grade experience?”

In the end, Wesner was so impressed by the presentation he increased his initial $100 investment to a $250 loan and even offered to match any profits so they could go to a charity of their choice.

“The students were amazing,” Wesner said. “The students were so well prepared and their presentation skills were very impressive.”

Third grade entrepreneur Abigail Weberman said she was excited that their proposal was accepted.

“We really need it,” she said.