On Monday, May 5, 2014, at Julian Nava Learning Academy in Los Angeles, nine brave eighth graders took to the stage and pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges, made up of community members, bankers, and executives. Jerry Seinfeld put a comedic, yet macabre twist, to the well-known adage of public speaking by saying, “people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
For these nine finalists from Mrs. Anne Snyder’s class, there was not a single hint of fear in their eyes, words, and body language. The path to the Final Pitch Competition was both strenuous and rigorous as students had to complete courses in Financial Dignity and Entrepreneurship. Participants went through exercises and activities on creating a budget plan, analyzing market competition, researching material cost and calculating the break-even point for products/services sold before making a profit. Furthermore, students explored different methods for marketing and advertising, and even collected survey data from their peers to influence the business direction.