On Friday September 30th 2016, Mae’s High School hosted what was dubbed the first ever intra-school business pitch competition among students preparing to write the Principles of Business examination at CSEC. This pioneering gesture was simply given the title “The Pitch.”
Mae’s High School for a number of years has been able to achieve a 100% pass rate in the subject of Principles of Business. This year was in fact one of the best performance with 27 students writing the subject and 21 obtaining Grade Ones while the remaining 6 obtaining Grade Twos. This posited the question, what can be done to make it even better or so that all the students can pass with grade ones.
The answer appeared quite simple with the fact that encouraging students to do well in their School Based Assessments was a sure way to ensuring that they obtain a good grade at the Caribbean Education Certificate Examination. According to the Head of the Business Department of the school, Dave Lalltoo, it is absolutely necessary to push students to their full potential. That is why he came up with the idea, modeled after shows and events of a similar nature.
“This is the first time anything like this is being done in any school and we hope that others will follow in our footsteps in order to get the student more interested and more involved,” he said.
The Principles of Business School Based Assessment provides the opportunity for students to pick a specific business idea and develop it into a proposal which will in due course be implemented on a smaller scale. The Pitch allowed for students to take this written proposal and develop it into an oral and visual presentation up for the criticism of a unique panel of judges. These in turn were expected to make comments and ask questions which aimed to highlight areas of strength and areas that needed to be fixed before final submission. The business pitch competition sought a means of developing and raising the standards of the School based Assessment by making it more challenging and competitive. At the same time, it provided a forum for students to gain more knowledge as they prepared for it.
The competition which began promptly at 9am featured presentations for both sole proprietorship and partnership businesses and began with the former. A total of 5 sole proprietorship businesses were initially pitched to a panel of seven judges. The panel consisted of Ms. Stacey French, the Director of Mae’s Secondary, Mr. Justin Nedd, the CEO of GTT, Ms. Natheeah King Mendonca, CEO of Assured Services, Ms. Meleesa Payne, CEO of Expressions Enterprise and JADA’s Consultancy, Mr. Stan Gouveia, Journalist, Marketing Consultant and Radio Broadcaster, Mr. Omesh Antonio, Co-founder of Guyana Premier and Mr. Royden James, Regional Journalist for HGPTV Nightly News. The businesses ranged from producing and selling coconut oil products, frozen yogurt, rice and even electronics. Individually, the judges were allowed to critique each of the businesses, ask questions and score them as appropriate.
There were a total of 9 partnership businesses that were pitched and included ideas such as the production and sale of cupcakes, pastries, cosmetics, lumber, party supplies and even local organically made hair products.
Taking this opportunity, the students made it a learning experience taking the advice from such moguls in the industry such as Mr. Nedd and their own director Ms. French.
In the end however, after participation certificates were distributed to the presenters, the winners had to be announced. The top three for each category was selected as well as the best overall presenter. For the sole proprietorship business, the top position went to Tech Advanced, pitched by Ken Craig, followed by D’s Coconut Creations by Delicia Prowell and Frozen Delights by Ferzana Rahaman. For the partnership entity, the winning prize went to the presenters for M.Y. Lumberyard, Matthew Yusuf and Akeiba McKenzie, followed by R&R Delights’ Ria Rodrigues and Rehana Muntaz and SA Hair Produtx’s Sydelle Felicien and Asheana Persaud.
The best presenter award went to Ken Craig for his professional and well delivered pitch for Tech Advanced.
In the closing remarks by Ms. Stacey French, she thanked the judges for their presence and intellectual contributions as well as the parents of students who were present, for supporting their children. She expressed gratitude to the students for participating and even congratulated them for a job well done. Lastly she thanked the Head of the Business Department for Mae’s High, Mr. Lalltoo; stressing on the fact that he has always looked out for the continuous growth of his students by thinking out of the box and coming up with new and improved innovations in education. She is hoping that other schools would seek to emulate this and as such, challenge their students to achieve greater heights.
(In Photo: Ken Craig- Best presenter and best pitch for sole proprietorship business)