On Saturday, May 4, a group of undergraduate Craig School of Business marketing and logistics students coordinated the first annual Smittcamp Biz Games at Fresno State as part of their course project. Minarets High School participated in the competition and emerged with a first place overall trophy and a $1,500 grand prize.
The goal of the competition was to create inspiration in the areas of business management, entrepreneurship and innovation among high school students by getting them to experience business from the perspective of a CEO.
The competition involved 10 local high schools, several local business sponsors, executives from a variety of businesses to serve as judges and Fresno State professors. Teams that competed included Minarets High School and Minarets Charter, Center for Advanced Research & Technology, University High, Avenal High, Mendota High, Clovis North High, Madera, Madera South, El Diamonte High and Central. Members of the Minarets team included Hunter Davis, Brett Hendrickson, Alex Holt, Erika Nelson, Himanshu Sharma and their advisor Ryan Finfrock.
During the competition, teams of four competed in seven categories of business management: Overall performance, marketing (product development), market research (statistics), financial analysis (stock market), Human Resources (interviewing and resumes), executive review (rank impactful business articles), and strategy (strategically analyze and suggest how to improve a nonprofit).
According to Finfrock, the most challenging and interesting category, as well as highest point value and time consuming project, was the marketing challenge: take an ordinary wooden pallet and produce a finished consumer product out of it. Submissions ranged from decorative bookshelves and tables to solar ovens.
The winner, submitted by Minarets Charter and Minarets High School was the iPallet -- a fully functional wooden briefcase that served as a chargeable workstation for an iPad 1, 2 or 3. Minarets also took first place in Market Research and first Place Overall. CART finished second overall, followed by Avenal High School.
Bill Smittcamp awarded Minarets their first place overall trophy and the $1,500 grand prize after delivering an inspirational speech about entrepreneurship and innovation, which encouraged America's younger generation to continue asking "why and how" in order to learn and improve in business.
Minarets will use the prize capital to directly fund two of the school's newest electives: KickStarter (Entrepreneurship) and Rapid Prototyping. These courses are designed to be complementary to one another, where KickStarter will be focused on product design, business planning, marketing, sales and operations, while Rapid Prototyping focuses on the production, prototyping and manufacturing of products in conjunction with KickStarter. Not only will this be an opportunity for students to learn and create, the local community can benefit by submitting product ideas to these courses.