By Todd Martin
Special to the Daily Herald
Working with the determination of first-time entrepreneurs paid off for a team of four Shoemaker High School seniors when they won a state championship.
Competing as an entrepreneurship team in the Skills USA business organization, Kassie De La Cruz, Jamesha Parker, Brittany Young and Kenny O'Brien overcame stiff competition to win at state. They are working now to take their project to nationals in June.
Teacher Brenda Drawdy said the group worked on their own time to come up with a unique business plan for a medical supply store and with self-motivation and determined discipline put together a winning project.
Competing in Corpus Christi among top state teams, De La Cruz said everything about the presentation mattered.
The research driving the business plan was important, but so was the way the students dressed and presented their Power-Point presentation.
The presentation before judges was similar to presenting to a bank committee considering a business loan request, Drawdy explained.
Parker, who is interested in working in the medical field, suggested the medical supply store business plan. It competed among a variety of student-designed restaurants and salons among other projects.
The four Shoemaker students divided their task, each taking a different segment. The divisions were finance, advertising, facility design and marketing.
One of the challenges, the students said, was that real medical supply companies were hesitant to provide specific information in their highly competitive field to the student researchers.
The students put together a book containing financial information, layout designs for their store, marketing material and promotional brochures.
Another part of the competition required the students to think on their feet to solve a problem.
The judges gave the group a problem a first-year entrepreneur might face. The students had to come up with solutions using their entrepreneurial skills.
In addition to learning the details of starting a business, the students said they benefited from working together as a team.
Their reward is to attend a three-day competition in June in Kansas City, Mo.