OREGON – It's like "Shark Tank," but without the bite!
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 6-8 p.m. at the Oregon Coliseum, 12 Oregon High School social entrepreneurship teams will be showcasing their micro-business proposals in an "open house" forum, hoping that community members will visit, offer feedback, and most importantly, invest in their ideas – and help get their businesses off the ground and into the marketplace.
The students are enrolled in the OHS Social Entrepreneurship Program, a fast-paced, hands-on, senior-level course where students brainstorm, prototype, launch, and operate their own micro-businesses during the course of the school year.
"This is not your typical 'business course,'" said Aaron Sitze, the program's instructor. "Students learn more than just finance or marketing – they learn that they can use their individual passion and creativity to create value for themselves and for their community."
Each "micro-business proposal" must meet three criteria: it must have a social benefit, it must be entirely student-created, and it must be operable on a low budget with limited time.
The micro-businesses include ideas from the fields of recreation, technology, creative arts, and practical utility. The investment goals range anywhere from $40-$4,000, depending on the complexity of the proposal, though most need only a few hundred dollars to get going.
Beyond economic capital, students are also hoping to make connections with community members who can act as mentors – someone who can help them navigate the "launch" phase of their business adventure, someone with experience in the business/entrepreneurial world.
"Oregon is a super-supportive community," Sitze said. "It's always great when the energy and creativity of students can team up with the experience and wisdom of the adults."
Interested community members can learn more about the OHS Social Entrepreneurship Program, including how to invest or be a mentor, by contacting Aaron Sitze at firstname.lastname@example.org