PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 13, 2013) -
Bowman International School, an innovative Montessori school serving K-8th grade students in Palo Alto, Calif., has teams of 4th-6th grade students preparing to pitch Silicon Valley VCs on their friendship bracelet company strategies. During the month of November, students successfully learned and implemented the four main stages of the entrepreneurial cycle: design, manufacturing, sales and marketing. After presenting start-up plans to an initial panel of community professionals, educators and parents, three teams are now preparing for a real VC meeting experience with Icon Venture Partners.
For the second year in a row, Bowman is utilizing a program from BizWorld.org, a national nonprofit dedicated to challenging and engaging elementary and middle school children across the cultural and economic spectrum with fun, hands-on entrepreneurship programs that teach financial responsibility, leadership and teamwork. Bowman utilized the organizations's flagship program, BizWorld, a project-based curriculum that teaches the basics of entrepreneurship, business and finance by showing children how the entrepreneurial cycle operates in the friendship bracelet industry. BizWorld.org's programs instill confidence to reach students' goals and inspire them to become the innovative leaders of tomorrow.
"The BizWorld program is an innovative way to teach students the benefits of teamwork, critical thinking and creativity in a learning environment that is project-based and interdisciplinary," stated Mary Beth Ricks, head of school at Bowman. "It fits well with Bowman's spiral method of teaching where students are introduced to concepts multiple times, with additional information and focus provided at each exposure. This encourages students to understand and put knowledge into practice, rather than just memorizing facts, and the depth of life-long learning that comes from this approach is invaluable."
Teams of five-to-six students started their own friendship bracelet companies and had to apply for leadership roles in their group, incorporate the business, design bracelets based on a marketing strategy, and pitch venture capitalists and sell stock for seed funding. They then had to determine how to manufacture the bracelets and learn marketing strategy by creating slogans, posters and commercials, sell their actual products and keep track of their finances. Bay Area professionals from several companies were on hand to give guidance through the process and provide guest lectures in the areas of finance, marketing, advertising and the role of the VC.
"There were nine teams who spent three weeks researching, developing and planning daily for this first round of presentations," stated Nicole Cozart, director of curriculum at Bowman. "We were impressed with the level of preparation evident in their pitches, as well as the solid teamwork and unique ideas."
As an added highlight for the Bowman students, three of the teams will meet with Charles Beeler and Tom Peterson of Icon Venture Partners at 12:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday, November 26. Each group will give a ten-minute presentation, receive coaching on their presentation and technique, and participate in a Q&A session with the VCs.
"We're excited to hear presentations from kids who have the confidence and passion to present their start-up ideas to a venture firm and are honored to have a chance to help support their efforts," said Charles Beeler, general partner and co-founder of Icon Venture Partners. "Ideas and passion are what drive change in our world. We are in the venture business because of the thrill we get from meeting the people who will drive this change and having the opportunity to help them along their path. I look forward to meeting with the Bowman teams, hearing their ideas and providing feedback to these future change leaders."
About Bowman International School
Bowman International School is an innovative, WASC accredited Montessori school serving K-8th grade students in Palo Alto, Calif. Founded in 1995, the independent, non-profit school inspires children to love learning in an academically challenging and internationally aware program that promotes respect, responsibility, and independence. Alumni of the school have graduated from top local high schools and colleges including Princeton, Stanford, UCLA and Yale. For more information, visit