Local High School Students Dive Into the Shark Tank!

Our team always enjoys having high school students visit the Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) Garage to learn more about entrepreneurship at NC State. It was no different when the sophomores from Apex Friendship High School Academy of Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing (AFHS) came to see us this month – on Friday the 13th no less!

To keep things interesting, we led an activity where they solved a problem and developed a solution to pitch to their classmates in 15 minutes. It was a tall order, but AFHS students were up for the challenge! They came up with fantastic solutions to problems we face everyday using a version of the design thinking process, such as the “Double Brush” a revolutionary toothbrush that cuts your cleaning time in half with two sets of bristles that brush your top and bottom chompers simultaneously. Other groups tackled nuisances of everyday life such as the annoyance of shoelaces coming untied and the pesky habit of losing keys.

Once the students created visual representations of their solutions, they had 60 seconds to pitch it to their classmates, i.e. the “Sharks.” Although these were friendly waters, the fate of their venture was in the hands of their classmates – who took on the roles of potential investors. Each student had a one hundred dollar “Wolfpack” bill to vote for their favorite idea that was not their own. Winning teams received the ultimate prize – an EI t-shirt – and, of course, bragging rights!

“I liked the concept of forming a pitch and trying to get the ‘investors’ on board. Working with a group I haven’t worked with before was a good experience because we had different ways of approaching the problem at hand and the creativity was increased,” said Sarah Kilpatrick, a sophomore at AFHS.

Their EI experience was capped off with a tour of the Garage during which students caught a glimpse of members working in the workshop and on the laser table. The EI Garage was one of four stops on their tour of Centennial Campus, which included the Hunt Library, Constructed Facilities Lab, and Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center.

We look forward to seeing the AFHS students again soon!

Megan Greer is the director of communications and outreach for the Entrepreneurship Initiative. She has worked in higher education for more than a decade and is a proud two-time graduate of Meredith College. When she’s not in the Garage or attending events in the entrepreneurship community, she can likely be found watching too much E! or Bravo and spending time with her family. She also knows a ton of useless celebrity facts and is good at remembering dates–so be sure to tell her your birthday! Follow her on Twitter @megandgreer.