Mike Motz, Sun-Telegraph
On March 1st, West Elementary in Sidney was transformed into an Entrepreneurship factory, where the students were divided into teams, assigned organization roles, and put together a product and business plan to creatively sell a "widget" to an assembled group of judges and their peers. The teams with the best product idea and presentations were awarded prizes for their efforts, and all the students received a fun lesson on how a product is created and brought to market.
About 170 students participated, with the fifth and sixth graders divided into teams of 5-7 students each. The teams started with a small, 3D printed widget, which was actually a replica of a
carousel used to hold photo slides for old-style Slide Projectors.
Each group then had to decide on one product idea to move forward with through a series of stations to learn about target markets, branding, and finance. The students used this new knowledge to create a name, slogan, and logo for their product. The groups then determined their who their target market would be and pricing strategy based on similar items and material costs.
The students were creative with the products they came up with, everything from bio-metric enabled portable alarm systems with facial recognition, a botanical plant garden, storage devices, and a vitamin or treat dispenser for pets.
Each group then presented their product idea and business strategy to a group of judges, giving them an opportunity to gain public speaking experience.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension team led by Cheyenne County 4-H educator Laura Narjes coached and prepared the students well, with interest in the program high and the students excited to use their creativity and sell a product like they would see on TV's "Shark Tank." The Inventure Day program was made possible by a donation from the Cheyenne County Farm Bureau and in partnership with Sidney Public Schools, gives students an early head start on entrepreneurship and business training prior to high school.