Dons swim with sharks

Joshua Sprague’18 introduces his business proposal icurbtrash to the judges at the recent Dons Shark Tank event.

Photo by Mercy Sosa

Joshua Sprague’18 introduces his business proposal icurbtrash to the judges at the recent Dons Shark Tank event.

Designed to encourage the businessmen and women of tomorrow, the CCHS Don-trepreneurship Club recently hosted the second annual Dons Shark Tank competition, where two winners, Jacob Dyer ’19 and Joshua Sprague ’18, were selected out of the five presenters. 

“Having an entrepreneurial spirit, I have been looking for a business idea,” Sprague said. “Driving home one day, I was looking at all the trash cans still out on the street. I realized our neighborhoods have a need.”

Both winners received $500 and advice from experienced judges regarding how to turn their ideas into business ventures.

Sprague, founder of icurbtrash, created a trash service for people who do not have time to take out their own trash cans. Sprague brought this idea to the judges hoping to further build his vision.

Similar to Sprague, the other winner, Dyer, founder of Sprite-Suite, sought to make his dream into reality by presenting an image-editing tool he can create himself. Although both Sprague and Dyer proposed innovative ideas, impressing the judges was no easy task.

“I started working on Sprite-Suite Image Editor as a tool for my own video game development work, and I figured that others would enjoy a new set of art utilities they didn’t have to program themselves,” Dyer said. “Sprite-Suite is also intended for artists even if they are not interested in game development.”

Sprague’s presentation, although nerve racking, brought forward helpful commentary from the judges, who gave him advice throughout his presentation on ways to improve his business.

“I felt a little nervous during the presentation, but as I progressed it felt more like a conversation with the judges rather than just a PowerPoint presentation,” Sprague said. “Becoming a great presenter is a skill that comes from practice. So, hopefully this experience has helped teach me how to improve.

Sprague said he felt honored to receive advice from a panel of highly qualified judges whether or not they critiqued or questioned my proposal.

Dyer, agreeing with Sprague, sees the judges’ advice as essential to the future of his enterprise, and he will apply the advice to future decisions.

“Every question is asked to ensure that you know your product and market, which is necessary for any business endeavor,” Dyer said. “I learned that the ability to scale your product and to get it on the market in a working state is crucial.”

With the advice, both winners seek to improve their business ventures, and they are proud of what they have accomplished.

“My proposal is a working demo, a solid plan of future development, and a thorough knowledge of the video game development industry,” Dyer said.

Mr. Tyler Anthony, the Don-trepreneurship Club adviser and avid motivator of entrepreneurial spirit at CCHS, helped all five presenters develop their proposals and made sure they stayed realistic.

“I was really proud because everyone came up with their own ideas and brought them to life,” Mr. Anthony said. “I was mainly a support system for them and would advise them in the business part of their proposals where they had to figure out the cost and what it was going to take.”

With the support of Mr. Anthony, both winners impressed the judges with their presentation skills and the feasibility and likelihood of their ideas becoming a profit.

“People want you to succeed and if you seek out guidance and support people are more than willing to help,” Sprague said.

Being able to come up with propositions to an enterprise is not easy especially for a high school student however, it is possible as demonstrated by Dyer and Sprague.

“I hope this experience really opens doors for our Dons and allows them make their dreams a reality,” Mr. Anthony said.