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Inside the World of DECA: Insights from a Judge's Perspective

As someone who had the privilege of judging a DECA competition, I'm excited to share my experiences and insights with you. DECA, a renowned organization dedicated to preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, orchestrates competitions where students present meticulously crafted business projects they've been honing for months.

Picture this: a bustling event teeming with over a thousand eager participants, grouped in teams of 2 to 3, each armed with a carefully prepared presentation. From my vantage point, I had the opportunity to evaluate international projects, drawing on my background in communication and overseas business knowledge.

Three groups, in particular, captured my attention with their innovative ideas and ambitious goals. One group envisioned a retail pecan store in the heart of London, another proposed the establishment of an ergonomically designed chair factory in an Asian locale, and the third set their sights on opening a luxurious hotel in Georgia, Russia.

What struck me most about these projects was the depth of thought and planning invested by the students. They addressed fundamental questions that any aspiring entrepreneur must grapple with:

  1. The Idea: What business are they proposing?

  2. Motivation: Why are they pursuing this venture?

  3. Financial Goals: What monetary outcomes do they anticipate?

  4. Execution Plan: How do they plan to develop their product or service?

  5. Location and Product Choice: Why did they select a particular product, service, or location?

  6. Financial Viability: What are the acquisition costs and expected profitability?

As judges, we were tasked with evaluating the clarity and viability of their plans. We assessed whether the teams understood their vision and had a solid plan to bring it to fruition. Much like entrepreneurs pitching to investors, these students meticulously prepared their presentations, complete with detailed maps and financial projections.

My experience as a judge left me thoroughly impressed by the level of preparation and professionalism exhibited by these young minds. It's evident that DECA provides a platform for students to not only showcase their entrepreneurial acumen but also to develop invaluable skills in critical thinking, communication, and strategic planning.

If you're considering DECA for your child, rest assured that the organization offers ample resources and support to guide them on their journey. While I've only experienced DECA from the perspective of a judge, I can confidently say that it provides an enriching and transformative experience for young aspiring entrepreneurs.

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By Jay Pujara

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