Entrepreneurial students at Elgin Park Secondary have received a notable nod for their business skills, with a win last month south of the border.
According to business education department head Jay Mundi, the success at the International Entrepreneurship Competition in Austin, Texas marks the third consecutive year that the business-club students have returned triumphant.
Held Nov. 20-22, the event challenged students to create and deliver a Dragon's Den-style, business sales-pitch presentation.
To prepare, the Elgin teens came up with a pitch for an innovative use of a pen; they also entered the DECA Idea Challenge, in which they posted a three-minute YouTube video on finding an innovative business use for cardboard boxes.
While the road to victory was not without obstacles – including five late registrations – Mundi said it was all worth it in the end. Three of the five late-comers placed in the IEC's final four top teams, presenting their pitch with their "power team" in front of more than 1,000 of their peers.
Thirteen Elgin teens attended the competition. Three were on the top team: business club president Cindy Lai, Silvia Zhu and Rocky Xie.
On Day 1 of the competition, students worked in teams of six to develop a pitch for coffee stir sticks. Day 2, they strove to create the highest free-standing tower that could hold the weight of a marshmallow, using only spaghetti, tape and rope.
Day 3 was the final pitch.
Elgin is currently the only B.C. school competing internationally – a point Mundi and the students hope to rectify through the recent launch of a B.C. chapter of DECA, a national youth business organization that organizes competitions worldwide.
The team took that idea to Vancouver in October, aiming to 'sell' it to delegates at the BC Business Educators Association conference.
"We had a full house," Mundi told Peace Arch News after, noting the club shared "a whole host of information" with the teachers, including that school clubs must have at least 10 students to register with BC DECA.
The hope is to grow the chapter to 10,000 members in the next 10 years, he said.
With Texas behind them, the students are now putting renewed focus on BC DECA, while ramping up preparations for the International Career Development Conference in Nashville, Tenn.
The year-end business finals event brings together more than 20,000 of the world's top business students.