Entrepreneurship = Enigma? No Problem!

Written By: Tanya Iyer

Aside from the Rick and Morty fanbase, DECA members may be one of the world’s fiercest fandoms, particularly when it comes to their clusters. From the Warren Buffett hopefuls of the finance realm to the future restaurateurs of hospitality and tourism, DECA members tend to be loyal (often aggressively so) toward their cluster of choice.

Yet some DECA members may find a new favorite in the latest addition to the cluster family – Entrepreneurship. Announced in late April, the freshly created cluster is now host to two brand new events – Entrepreneurship Individual Series (ENT) and Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making (ETDM).

The cluster also includes seven pre existing written events, namely the Business Growth Plan, Entrepreneurship Promotion Project, Franchise Business Plan, Independent Business Plan, Innovation Plan, International Business Plan, and Start-Up Business Plan.

The Entrepreneurship cluster is clearly brimming with a variety of opportunities to further explore the world of business. Yet for members citing Shark Tank reruns as their primary source of exposure to the realm of entrepreneurship, it can be difficult to discern what the cluster covers in terms of testing and role plays. Even those who have significant experience with entrepreneurship (e.g. those who have previously participated in the cluster’s written events) may be in the dark when it comes to DECA’s latest additions. Let’s break it down.

Note: For the sake of emphasis, we’ll only focus on the cluster’s newest events – the Entrepreneurship Individual Series and Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making.

Format Both ENT and ETDM are ‘role play’ events – participants will take an economics test, an entrepreneurship cluster exam, and participate in a series of role plays. In particular, ENT participants will be given two role plays, each with a preparation and presentation limit of 10 minutes. ETDM participants will be given one role play, with a 30 minute preparation time window and 15 minutes to present.
Overview The Entrepreneurship cluster might be viewed as the sum of DECA’s parts. As a whole, it’s a test of members’ ability to cultivate ideas (Entrepreneurship), promote goods and services (Marketing), fund their endeavors (Finance), oversee a large operation (Business Management and Administration), and ensure that customers receive the best experience possible (Hospitality and Tourism). Your success in both ENT and ETDM will depend on your ability to integrate each of these components.
Tips In particular, there’s a couple of broad themes that the two events will zero in on. While preparing, make sure to research and understand terms such as B2B, marketing mix, and SWOT analysis. Practice ways to integrate these methods into your role play. After all, the cluster is essentially a measurement of your ability to understand theoretical techniques and use them in a practical setting. DECA also recommends being able to “…recognize opportunities and to act on them, determine needs, identify markets, utilize marketing research, identify sources of capital and use management skills.” The best way to familiarize yourself with these skills? Practice, practice, practice. DECA’s website is ALWAYS a great tool for practice tests and role plays.
Performance Indicators While skimming an event’s performance indicators is typically a great way to immerse yourself in the cluster’s content, Entrepreneurship’s indicators may seem a bit overwhelming. Ranging from Marketing to Financial Analysis to Business Law, the cluster covers a wide spectrum of areas. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut here. It’s up to you (and your partner, if applicable), to familiarize yourself with ALL of the performance indicators. While that might seem impossible, keep in mind that the Entrepreneurship cluster draws from each of DECA’s other four clusters. Study materials designed for the Hospitality & Tourism cluster or the Finance cluster will ultimately help you as well. By studying material from each of the clusters, you’re simultaneously checking off each of your performance indicators, one by one.
Jargon While DECA is centered around content and mastery thereof, it’s always helpful to store industry jargon up your sleeve, if only to impress your judge. Keep in mind that role play judges are typically professionals or academics in your cluster, and thus, they’re likely to have a strong understanding of your given field. Using words like ‘venture capital’, ‘seed money’, and ‘trade show’ will demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about 🙂
Exam The Entrepreneurship cluster exam is wide ranging in both scope and depth. To put it bluntly, you’re expected to know lots about a lot of concepts. Luckily, certain questions and topics tend to appear recurrently and frequently. Familiarize yourself with concepts related to intellectual property, market research and segmentation, and venture capital – it’s the best way to ensure you’ll take home that #DECAglass.

As we make our first forays into the competition season, I wish each of you the best of luck in your respective events. I’m sure that your success at sectionals, ILCDC, and ICDC will be…well, limitless.

As always, feel free to reach out at tiyer@ildeca.org with any questions, comments, concerns, or snide remarks. Have a wonderful rest of your day, and I look forward to seeing many of you on January 27th!