In 2004, Grand Strand SCORE developed the Junior Apprentice Program in conjunction with the Georgetown County School System and Georgetown Chamber of Commerce. Today, 2018, the program is now known as ‘Junior Shark Tank’. The program challenges middle and high school students, in search of an introduction to business fundamentals, to attend a four-day course that will increase the students' business knowledge as well as their passion for learning. Thus far, over 560 students have attended Junior Shark Tank and non have dropped out of high school. This is significant because the dropout rate in the Georgetown County School System is close to fifty percent.
During the four days of the course, rising freshman and sophomore high school students learn basic business principles, writing a business plan, presentation skills, and teamwork . At the beginning of the week, the participants breakout into teams, choose a team leader and brainstorm a business concept. As the week progresses, they learn market research, finances and operations as they write each section of their plan. At the end of the week, teams present their conceptual companies via ‘Power Point’, to The Sharks, local business individuals, as though they were looking for investors. The Sharks then critique the Teams work and a winner is chosen. The average student attends eight hours of classroom activity every day and completes six hours of self-assigned homework.