Viera students learning how to develop real-world business plans


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Viera High seniors Eric Eraso, left, Addison Goodwin and Ryan Stofflet work on their power point presentation for this month's Business Plan Challenge. Not pictured, but also in the group is Jonathan Orriss.

photo by carl kotala

Students in Viera High’s Academy of Business and Finance are getting a first-hand look at what it’s like to start their own business and possibly earn a scholarship to Florida Tech for their efforts. 

More than 100 students from across Brevard County will take part in the Junior Achievement “Be Entrepreneurial” Business Plan Challenge being held this month. The first round of the competition will take place Feb. 22 at Florida Tech with the finalists presenting their business plan to a panel of judges at the Cocoa Playhouse on Feb. 23. 

Think of it as the high school version of the popular TV show “Shark Tank.” 

“They have to have a business plan, like they would have to have if they were going into business as an adult,” said Viera High Business and Finance teacher Stacey Gammella. 

“They need to explain all the financials, the marketing, the advertising and the promotion of that product. They have a power point presentation that they make for the judges. They need to do a 2-minute commercial which they would sell to audiences to buy the product and a separate 2-minute commercial which is a videotape of their pitch to the judges (to convince them) to invest in their company.” 

First prize is a $10,000 scholarship to Florida Tech for each member of the business group (two to four students) that is renewable for four years as long as they attend the school. There is also a $2,500 check for the winning team that can be used however the students decide. 

Viera High took first and second place — as well as honorable mention — at last year’s event. 

Senior Collin Quigley, who was part of that second-place team along with Valeria Villanueva and Mariana Castellon, will be back to present an improved version of their PraVita Bands product. 

The bands are designed for use on college campuses so that a student who feels they are in danger can contact their school’s police force. 

“What we’re doing is revolutionizing the blue box system on college campuses, because right now they’re very expensive to maintain and a lot of colleges are (doing) away with them because they’re expensive,” Quigley said. “They’re going to an app. But phone battery is very limited.” 

PraVita Bands can fix that. 

“It has a little activator inside of it and when it’s activated, it goes into a GPS system which connects to the college campus security and gives them the location of where you are so they can go to you.” 

Senior Ryan Stofflet and his friends Eric Eraso, Addison Goodwin and Jonathan Orriss are all avid fisherman. So naturally, their group, known as “Green Shore,” has come up with a unique idea for a potentially big market — a hybrid boat engine. 

“As a fisherman in high school, you’re always thinking of ways to save money,” Stofflet said. “I have a boat and gas is really expensive for a boat, so I just thought one day, wouldn’t there be an easier way?” 

Over at Atlas Vision, seniors Mitchell Shoff and Brandon Delli Santi have come up with a useful tool for runners packed into a pair of glasses. 

“They make watches nowadays that tell you your pace and the distance you’ve traveled,” Shoff said. “What we’re going to do is take all the information that a runner needs and we’re going to put it in a heads-up display on glasses. 

“A heads-up display is a very real technology. We’re just trying to apply that so a runner doesn’t have to break stride to look down at their watch.”