Contributed by Megan Torner | Bethany Lutheran College DECA, MN
As preparation for DECA competitions and a potential club fundraiser, five of our chapter members participated in a local business plan/case study competition called FutureSolvers, which Minnesota State University, Mankato, hosted. Our competition group comprised Clever Nieto-Lazo, John Sadaka, Ethan Lozano, Allison Etheridge and myself (Megan Torner). Our chapter advisor, Kenneth Johnson, brought the event to our attention.
The case study for the competition was based on creating an agriculture-based business on a specific plot of land in southern Minnesota. It specified that the land could not be sold and that we were given a 5 million dollar investment to start the business.
Over the span of a few weeks, our team was able to get advice from a mentor in the farming industry and create a business plan complete with financials, a marketing plan, an implementation plan and potential future expansion options for our created business. The business was a self-sustaining corn and soy farm using solar power, complete with a processing plant and storage facility on the property.
We created and practiced a Shark Tank-style business plan presentation to present when we qualified for the competition’s finals. Our team, who had no experience with agriculture before this event, took third place in the competition’s final and won $2,000 for our chapter’s semester fundraiser!
This practice was similar to many DECA competition events and has better prepared us for these competitions through creating business plans, presenting in front of an audience, and practicing teamwork and communication. It was a great learning experience for everyone involved and has made us more confident about future DECA competitions. Since this was such a positive experience, we will continue to look for more opportunities in the community for similar competitions to give our chapter members the ability to gain more experience and confidence in these areas for future DECA competitions and their future careers.
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