Summer Creek High School is jumping on the “Shark Tank” bandwagon and recently held a “Sharkpreneur” contest. Summer Creek juniors and seniors were eligible to enter the contest, which provided winning young entrepreneurs with total cash prizes of $3,000. The first-place winner, junior Jaslyn Silva, won for her small business, Henna and More. As part of her prize, Silva also won a professional package, including logo development, business cards, print ads and business coaching.

Gathered business leaders and contestants are, back row, from left: Business Voices-Gwen Key Willis (Key Realtors), Shark-Kristi Freeman (Fairway Mortgage), Ma’lanja Carty (senior), Abigail Traveno (junior), Kendall Dutton (junior), Alexis Rosas (senior), Chrystian Tye (sophomore), James Tamez (Plains State Bank), Business Voices-David Cherry (Visibly Connected), and Associate Principal Kerri Smith. Front row: Jaslyn Silva (junior), Shark-Kim Hunt (Big Fish Computer Support), and Shark-Erica Johnston (Chick-fil-A).

Summer Creek business teacher Keilani Hamilton Randolph spearheaded the contest with support from local business leaders involved in the Lake Houston Business Voices. Sponsors included Chick-fil-A, Fairway Mortgage, Plains State Bank, Big Fish Technology, Advocare, Key Realtors, Visibly Connected, Shield Waste Consultants, and Commercial Realty Advisors.

Students who entered the contest submitted an investor proposal including an executive summary, information about themselves and their company, financial statements and a request for funding. Competing students presented a 2-to-5-minute pitch and samples of their business product.

Randolph said winners were chosen by a panel of judges.

“Very much like the ABC TV show ‘Shark Tank,’ local business owners took the position of Sharks, watched the students present, and then chose the winners. The goal is to invest in the future of students and the growth of business ideas or pre-existing student businesses. Many different ideas were submitted by students, including Sike I Lied (T-shirt brand), Noapia’ (handmade soaps), Kenwrite (handwriting machine), Jean Patch (clothing patch), Smart Mirror (computerized mirror), and Henna and More (henna temporary tattoos and hair braiding),” said Randolph.

The impetus for the Sharkpreneur contest came from local business leaders who contacted Randolph with the idea to help students become successful entrepreneurs.

“Their goal matched one of my own, to have students develop the skills needed to become entrepreneurs. Once we met, we realized we would be an excellent team. Our collaboration brought both pieces of the puzzle together,” said Randolph.

Silva said the Sharkpreneur process began when she and other students in Randolph’s business class were tasked with creating a product for a class project. Interested students entered their class project in the contest.

Silva said she decided to complete her project on a small business that she was already running.

“I started Henna and More to make some extra cash. I go to birthday parties and I do face painting, henna, and hair wraps and braids. My goal in my proposal was to obtain funding for the purchase of an air-brush machine for my business. I consider the work I do to be creating art, and it’s sometimes difficult to move quickly and help many party guests. With an air-brush machine, I would be able to move a lot faster,” she said.

Silva said the machine she is hoping to purchase costs about $3,000, so she will be saving her winnings to invest in her business.

David Cherry, co-owner of a local digital marketing firm, Visibly Connected, said Silva “had one of the best presentations and had a business that already existed that she was ready to move forward with immediately.”

Silva also received an $850 scholarship from Plains State Bank and Kristi Freeman. Silva hopes to attend Lone Star College after graduation in 2019, and then eventually transfer to the University of Houston and pursue becoming a family-practice physician.

This was the first annual Sharkpreneur contest for Summer Creek, but Randolph said she hopes to repeat the contest annually.

Susan McFarland
Author: Susan McFarlandEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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I am a northerner by birth, but got to Texas as quick as I could more than a dozen years ago. I am very curious by nature and love peppering people with questions for Tribune stories. In my spare time I sell real estate, write my travel blog, and hang out with my family and my adorable Boston Terrier, Charlie. I cover local businesses, special interest topics, and area events.

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