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Foundation working to bring ‘Shark Tank’-style business classes to Del Mar district

Joshua Barker, branch manager of Wells Fargo of Torrey Hills with Sage Canyon School parents Dr. Wendy Ark and Diana Li and Del Mar Schools Education Foundation President Ty Humes.
Joshua Barker, branch manager of Wells Fargo of Torrey Hills with Sage Canyon School parents Dr. Wendy Ark and Diana Li and Del Mar Schools Education Foundation President Ty Humes.
( / Courtesy)

It wasn’t just business as usual at Sage Canyon School in December, when kids played CEOs and gave presentations about start-up costs and profits for their unique inventions and ideas in front of a room full of potential investors.

Sage Canyon teacher Paris Esmaili, left, and Joshua Barker, branch manager of Wells Fargo, right, with the pilot class for a new business program in the Del Mar Union School District.
(Karen Billing)

The presentations were the culmination of a new business-themed class for sixth-grade students, piloted by Sage Canyon this fall.

The class, designed to introduce students to entrepreneurship, financial education and business planning, was co-taught by Paris Esmaili, Sage Canyon’s ESC technology teacher, with help from Joshua Barker, the branch manager of Wells Fargo in Torrey Hills.

The class is modeled after the “Shark Tank” TV show. Students work in groups of three (CEO, CFO and marketing VP) to create a business plan and make a pitch to investors.

The “investors” on Dec. 15 were Esmaili and Barker, as well as students from other classes and visiting parents.

Esmaili decided to invest in the company Try It, created by the team of Sabrina, Natasha and Kylie. Try It is an online app that allows people to shop online and see how clothes would look before you buy them.

Barker chose to invest in We Bring Your Game to Life, a custom board game company created by Jacob, Chayan and Andrew.

Sage Canyon parents Dr. Wendy Ark and Diana Li, along with Ty Humes, an Ocean Air parent and president of the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation, are working with Wells Fargo and United Media Artists Group (Mark Burnett Productions) to create a “Shark Tank”-style showcase for the entire district.

On Dec. 15, the students’ creative pitches included Coffee Carz, a business that delivers fresh-made coffee to people at the click of a button, and Candy Copter, a “new take on the piñata” that can “make children’s dream come true” by raining candy out of two pouches on the sides of a hand-generated helicopter.

Other ideas included a rotating theme buffet restaurant called the Switcheroo Buffet and a babysitting/tutoring combo business.


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