Over 60 per cent of first time businesses fail due to lack of planning. That's one statistic the young entrepreneurs at Elsie Roy plan on avoiding.
The school's Grade 5 students held a Young Entrepreneurs' Show that showcased one-of-a-kind products developed by the students themselves. Neck cushions, homemade jewelry, toys of all kinds and even Christmas ornaments were among the wares on display in the school's Multi-Purpose room, refashioned as a marketplace. Parents, teachers and students in other grades were free to browse through the exclusive merchandise artfully laid out for sale.
The show represented the culmination of a special student entrepreneurship program that taught the students how to create a business plan. Not only did the students design their own products, they developed plans to finance, market and sell their creations as well.
The program was a chance for students to combine their creative side with business savvy. Many products were adjusted to be more cost-effective to produce and ventures were largely financed through official 'business loans' from parents. A 10 per cent donation to charity was factored into all business plans, as a way to teach the students the importance of giving back.
By all accounts, sales were better than expected.
"I sold way more than I thought I would," said Marko Palinic, 10, commenting on his above-average sales of 'Magic Goo', a play-dough like product particularly popular with the younger clientele.
For Adnan Bhatti, 9, who was selling specialty bookmarks, the blazer he was wearing may have had something to do with boosting sales.
"I wanted to dress nice for the sale. I wanted to be more professional," he said.
For teacher Melissa McCleary, the entrepreneurship program helped to motivate every single student in her class since there was something for everyone.
"It's a really integrative program that brought in math and art and writing and other things. Wednesdays, when we worked on this, was everyone's favourite day of the week," she said.
The Young Entrepreneurs' Show was part of an overall drive to help foster a spirit of entrepreneurship and business savvy among young students.
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