NORTH CANTON  Seniors in the Hoover Senior Business Management class in the North Canton City Schools have created three companies this year as part of their yearlong curriculum. The companies, Beelieve, ReImagine and Drops, have been successfully selling products for the past few months.

The class combines business theory with hands-on learning. Teacher Mike Grady said the seniors in his class are part of a three-year program where the students learn basic business practices. The first year is an introduction to business. Accounting practices are taught in the second year and business management is covered during the third year. Students receive college credits for some of the coursework.

Seniors complete the third year learn in a classroom set up like a business office along with their own conference room. Students also form companies, elect officers, manufacture products and market their product lines.

All of the students are involved in the companies in different capacities. There is a sales, marketing and social media team, project managers, production people and a finance department. Each company present their products to a Shark Tank-like panel of investors. Plus, each company received a loan at a set percent interest rate they have to repay by the end of the year. The program works with Junior Achievement to obtain the investors.

At the beginning of the school year, students run for CEO. When the CEOs are selected, he or she selects students for each company. The company teams presented information about their companies to a panel of judges on April 13. The judges asked each team about how they developed their products and why, what competition is like and about their expenses, income and profits.

Students pitch their company products and give a presentation about their company performance," Grady wrote in an email. "Each company sets up a trade show booth for the community members to visit and learn more about the company products."

Students gain hands-on experience by creating a company, electing officers and filling positions in human resources, finance, production, marketing, and sales departments. Teams of students work together as one business to write a business plan, study consumer behavior, perform market research, order products, create and maintain a website, develop marketing tools and sales strategies, track and fill orders, and package and distribute products.

The student business owners use software programs to effectively manage their student-run company all the while gaining applicable skills for a future career in business.

This Year’s Business Teams

The three teams this year had differing products for both business-to-business sales and consumer sales.

Members Reid Bullock, Zach Martin, Jonathan Hughes, Dennis Fradkin, Nick Lehmier, Julia Crawford and Ivan Dong (CEO) created a company called Beelieve. The group designed and manufactured products for consumers to purchase and use to help rejuvenate the bee population.

Beelieve Product Description: The company is selling Seed Bombs made up of a mix of seeds of various types of flowers, recycled paper, and water. Seed Bombs are designed to be planted in any garden, allowing bees to pollinate more flowers. The mission of Beelieve is to save the bees and to create a more beautiful world. Visit the company’s website at www.beelievehhs.com.

Company Drops was created by members Brady Nist, Charlie Bond (CEO), Zach Owens, Linna Kettering, John Wood, Gary Gates, Whit Stopak, Cord Haubert and Matt Hoover. They created a customizable drinking travel cup. Consumers can have their name and logo engraved on the travel cups. 

Drops Product Description: Drops's mission is to allow individuals and businesses to express themselves with custom engraved tumbler mugs by purchasing a mug with an engraving of their choice. By selling cups engraved with a company logo, Drops helps small businesses produce more effective marketing campaigns. Complete details can be found at the company’s website, www.DropsJA.com.

ReImagine company members include Matt Canton, Luke Reicosky, Gage Stanley, Brianna Roemmele, Kevin Gartner (CEO), Reilly Nicola and Adam Burns. The product the company produces and sells is a travel cup that fits in a car cup holder to hold coins and help keep the cup holder organized.

ReImagine Product Description: The company’s research found that every year $62 million worth of coins are lost or thrown away. Because of this, ReImagine sells a change organizer designed for your car. The founders saw many benefits of organizing the change in cars, including a cleaner car, no more lost change and the chance of a car break in is reduced by keeping change out of sight. Find the product and the details on the company’s website at  www.reimagineja.com.

Judges Panel

The four judges participating included Chip Gerstenslager from Stark State College; Ryan Gorfida, owner of a local software company; Michelle Hostetler, director of instruction at North Canton City Schools and Dawn Campanelli, president of the Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio.