Business students take part in THINC Tank

Published 6:32 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019

On Friday afternoon, a handful of THINC Academy students were exposed to real-world business conditions when they pitched local business owners ideas for businesses they have developed this semester as a part of the school’s entrepreneurship pathway. 

“We focus on trying to teach students how to run a business, how to manage a business, how to build a start-up from scratch,” said Christopher Lee, a business and marketing instructor with THINC who focuses on entrepreneurship. “We do that through the business plan model. To start, the students do one business plan together as a whole, the second phase for them is to pick out a business that they want to focus on. This is a part of going through that process for them.”

Students had approximately 10 minutes to pitch their business ideas to the local business owner panelists who took part. Those that participated are in the third class of a business pathway focusing on entrepreneurship. 

Local businessmen and women who took part included Rob Goldstein of Wild Leap Brew Co., Jake Ayers of Pioneer Project, Amy Warren of An Affair to Remember, Gray Sain of Positive Fields and Todd Carlisle, business consultant for the University of Georgia. 

This was the third year Lee and THINC have put on the THINC Tank program, but this is the first year the program has incorporated the help of community members and business leaders. 

“I feel like one of the things students don’t get a lot of is business experience,” Carlisle said. “This event gives them an opportunity to be in an environment where they’re going to be asked questions on their ideas, and they’re going to be quizzed on those ideas. It gives them a good perspective of what is will be like when they have to visit a customer, and gives them an idea of what that scenario will feel like. This gives them a real feel for what the business atmosphere is like.” 

With a focus on real-world application and soft skill development, the THINC Tank program helps check both of those boxes for the students involved. 

“We put a lot of focus on soft skills,” Lee said. “Any time you can get in front of people, explain your idea, do some public speaking and let people know you’ve done something that you’re proud of, that’s beneficial. On the back end, they know business plans are real things that real people have to do that require real money, we want to make this realistic.”