Mr. Schlitten brings ‘Shark Tank’ to TD to teach business

By: Lorenzo Gazzola, Staff Reporter

This year, Mr. Schlitten has introduced our school to a new course in the Thornton Donovan program called Shark Tank, where he teaches students every aspect of the business world, from the start up process, all the way to expanding one’s business to larger markets. In the first few days of the class, Mr. Schlitten informed students of a program located in New York City called TiE: The Indus Entrepreneur.

TiE is an organization whose mission is to foster entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, and education. Dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community, images
TiE focuses on generating and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs. TiE takes teenagers, hungry to learn about starting their own business, and turns them into persistent entrepreneurs by teaching the students how to start and run businesses step-by-step.

In the early stages of the program, the students come up with business ideas on whichever topic they choose. From there, teams are formed for each idea. With classes every Saturday, teachers and experienced entrepreneurs, who come as guest speakers, educate the students about each step they must take in their journey to make their business a reality. Of course, with the formation of teams, there must be some sort of contest.

Every year, the program holds a national competition for young entrepreneurs from every TiE center of the United States. The students take their business plans and compete against one another in front of judges for the prize of $5,000 to invest into their business ventures. After the national competition, the best business plans from each TiE contest around the world (currently 15 different countries are involved with TiE) face head to head in the global competition where they once again compete against judges for the grand prize of $25,000 to actually go out and start their businesses.

With this, TiE is a very unique organization, as it truly gives young entrepreneurs a real life experience in the world of business. Instead of having students only collaborate in class to develop their business plans for the end of year competition, the program demands much more than that. Students also dedicate time during the week to get into contact with their teammates and are constantly working on their business plans with the knowledge gained from the professors and guest speakers. This provides a fantastic opportunity for teenagers because TiE not only provides the students with the information and knowledge on how to run a successful business, but it also literally puts them in the mix of the whole scene.

The students must spend time out of class on developing their businesses, reading up on chapters assigned by the teachers, and even staying up for hours working on their business plans. Additionally, students physically experience what it is like to be in a start up business and see the amount of hard work and sleepless nights each great million-dollar company of our day and age has gone through to gradually rise to the apex of the world of business.

By having students experience the process of starting their own company, TiE helps scholars develop the idea of sheer determination, persistence, and doing whatever it takes to turn their idea into a success. This point is very important, as it teaches the students not only in terms of entrepreneurship, but of life in general, that they must never take no for an answer, and no matter how many times they are criticized or doubted, they must never give up on their dreams until they become a reality. That is why this organization is so unique. TiE does not just create great entrepreneurs, but it also produces great individuals in society.