How many 8th graders can say they have owned and operated their own businesses? Thanks to a partnership between JA of Lincoln, Fiserv, and Cathedral of the Risen Christ School, dozens of Lincoln 8th graders can say just that! Under the leadership of business teacher Laura Brouillette, students spend time throughout the school year learning how to start and operate a business. They come up with their business plans, then hold a job fair where they interview and hire 6th and 7th graders. Throughout the year, the students are coached by Jamie Deterding, Senior VP of Fiserv, along with other Fiserv volunteers. It’s all real– they’re buying a selling real products, making real money, seeing the real ups and downs of return on investment. And then it’s Shark Tank time!
On April 25th, the JA Shark Tank was held at Catherdal. 10 teams of 8th graders competed for the grand prize– $1,200 in certificate of deposits for future educational expenses, courtesy of Fiserv. This year’s companies represented a big range of products and services, and a lot of creativity from the students! The companies were: Cathedral Customs, CRC Sprinkles, Divine Treats, IPA Crafts & Floral, MNM Sports, Scented Scensations, Simple Solutions, Snack Attack, TEMSHA, and ZONADI. Their presentations were judged by some big names in the local business world: Tony Fulton, Tax Commissioner, State of Nebraska; Wendy Birdsall, President, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce; Donde Plowman, Dean, UNL College of Business; Sam Nelson, UNL Entrepreneurial Studies; and Christopher Aumueller, FanWord.
The winning team was IPA Crafts & Floral, which sold flowers and Christmas crafts. Owned by Ian Mitchell, Peter Chasten, and Aaron Vrbka, the company saw big success selling flowers at school events, concerts, and on Easter Sunday. Their gross income was $750, with expenses of $78. Net Income was $672. With their earnings, IPA Crafts and Floral was able to donate $537 to Cathedral’s Art and Music rooms. In fact, all of the businesses up donated most of their profits back to the school for improvement projects. All together, more than $2000 was donated back to Cathedral. A big thanks to Runza for also donating $10 in combo meals to all participants!
Thank you to Fiserv, Cathedral, Runza, our “Sharks,” and everyone else who made this unique program possible!