KHS business students attend eye-opening competition on Oahu

4 of Kohala High School’s Core Business class students took a 3-day trip recently to participate in the Career and Technical Education competition. The competition categories included: 3D Animation, Culinary, Marketing, Animation, Health Services and the category Kohala competed in, Business Plan. Mentored by Tracy Cassinelli, Senior Marygold Salvador, Juniors Jenna Nickl and Breann Kapeliela and Sophomore Kelly Arenas presented their businesses in front of a panel of industry judges and interacted with other business plan competitors. Although they came home empty handed, the group of girls did bring back a handful of memories and new experiences to help them out in the real world.

Arriving on Oahu the day before competition, the girls studied their slideshows and flashcards in their Sheraton Waikiki hotel room till their eyes couldn’t take it anymore. The next morning, Kapeliela and Nickl presented their coffee, tea and pastry shop Mokka to 4 judges in a private room. Although they were very nervous, the two juniors managed to push through their presentation and impress the judges by answering all the Q&A questions. Salvador and Arenas presented their cupcake shop Sweet As Cupcakes about half an hour later and their 4 different judges were also thoroughly impressed. A couple hours later, the girls all sat down with their judges and received feedback on their presentations and business plans. Sweet As Cupcakes was commended for its great location and unique selling propositions and were even offered a business card from a judge who wanted to pursue partnering with his business. Mokka got great feedback on their involvement in technology as well as their willingness to challenge top coffee suppliers by choosing to open up shop in Seattle. Finalists were announced later in the day and although the two teams were disappointed that they weren’t moving on, they were relieved that the stress was over. Later in the afternoon, all of the students involved in business plan met in a ballroom for a bonding and icebreaker session. Students from the Entrepreneur Club at UH Manoa split everyone up into sections and led all the group through business and marketing related activities that were both fun and educational.

The following day, the final five business plans were presented in front of  4 other judges and all the business plan students. All the audience members sat patiently and watched the best of the best present. A certain plan stood out to the crowd by their use of charisma and humor: Pearlridge located poke bowl company called Aloha Bowls. The winners were announced later in a luncheon and awards ceremony and the winning business plan was none other than Aloha Bowls. The Kohala students watched numerous teams go up to receive their large checks and reflected on what they would tell business plan competitors from Kohala to expect in the future. Although tired, the girls found time to cruise down the Waikiki Strip and Ala Moana Shopping Center and open their eyes to the wonders that Oahu and the business world can offer.