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UCreate Elective: Developing Entreprenuerial Spirit at CSS

-by Jody Pereverzoff

Elective Description: “From the fashion industry to the sports and electronic gaming industry, there is money to be made. But how to these ideas turn into money??? Well, if any of these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, then this elective is for you! In this elective, you will have the opportunity to create a product, business, and/or app from the ground up. You will start with an idea, and work your way to a finished product that you will market to potential investors. If you enjoy thinking outside the box and have ever wondered how ideas are shaped into successful business ventures, then sign up today!"

Students are examining what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur by actually becoming business owners, product and/or app developers. For our first challenge, “The not so typical Lemonade Stand,” students first brainstormed what characteristics an entrepreneur must have.

As entrepreneurs, they feel they must be:
“Outside of the box” thinkers
Risk takers
Able to learn/find info quickly
Good communicators
Strong collaborators

Students then discussed what would make their stand successful and decided that, for this challenge, focusing on location and marketing would be critical to the success of their lemonade stands. Because they would be provided with the same product (iced tea mix), students would have to find a way to make their product unique. We went over marketing strategies, advertising techniques and placements, as well as logo, name and slogan design. They considered target audience when developing their advertisements, recognizing the need to market to students. They also said that busy traffic areas in the school would be critical to sales. We ranked locations in the school and set “rent” prices based on these rankings.

I offered students the same product, ice tea mix, and also provided each group with a “30 dollar” start up fee. This basic product cost each group 5 dollars. From there, students could choose to upgrade to a premium product (blue Kool-aid) for an extra 3 dollars.

Students also “purchased” location. We listed the top locations within our school and created prices for these spots. When going through the purchasing process, many groups put themselves in debt in order to sell their product in high traffic areas. Other groups chose to save their money for advertising, rather than location. Advertising also came at a price and we brainstormed these as a class.

Location Prices: 
In front of the office – $25.00
In front of the library – $27.00
6/7 and 8/9 stairwell – $10.00
Mudroom - $25.00
Outside locations – $5.00

Advertisements Prices: 
Sandwich board posters – 2.00
Black and white posters – 6 for 1.00
Colour posters – 4 for 1.00
Morning announcements – 15.00
Poster images on the Smartboards – 10.00
Word of mouth – FREE

Students were then required to hand in a budget and list of expenses. Before each group set up their stands, they had to show me how much they had spent on product, marketing, location, with a total of how much money they had, or how much they were in debt, before they began sales.

Student immediately began to find ways to create unique products. Students came up with ways to create “new products” using the same mix. Food colouring offered variety, and adding carbonated water helped students stand out from the rest. They called these “special ingredients” that students would have to purchase in order to experience.

Many groups began to realize that the bigger the risk, the bigger the success. If they spent more money for location or for advertising, the better their business would do. Others decided that spending less would allow them to purchase two separate locations, which they argued would be beneficial in the long run.

Each student in the school was given a ticket. This ticket represented one purchase, worth one dollar. The time came for students to collect their product, set up their booths, and sell sell sell. While a bit chaotic at times, it was a great success. Students learned about the importance of creating a great product so that word of mouth advertising would be positive, rather than negative as a few groups experienced. Some students also became mobile, carrying their product around the halls. We discussed the possibility of creating mobile businesses to find customers, rather than waiting for customers to find them. Another group created a “bring two friends, get a free drink” deal. Students found success in advertising, but results showed that location was critical to success. The group that forgot to market their product at all, but had prime location, actually won this challenge.

Next, students will take this knowledge and begin to design their own business, product and/or app. After coming up with an idea, researching competition and target audiences, meeting with business and marketing experts, and planning and developing their ideas, students will present their final product to a panel of experts, Dragon’s Den style. Students have brainstormed what characteristics a successful entrepreneur must have and will continue to focus on these characteristics as they embark on their own business ventures. If you have any comments, ideas, suggestions, or would like to help with this elective in some way, please feel free to comment on this blog posting or contact me via Twitter.

1 comment:

Garry McKinnon said...

Jody, I enjoyed reading your blog about creating an entrepreneurial spirit, which is one of the three goals highlighted in the Alberta Education Inspiring Action document. Through the lemonade stand challenge you engaged your students in a rich, real life experience in which they developed their skills and understanding in marketing, advertising, budgeting and creating a business plan. The lemonade stand experience provided your students with an excellent foundation for designing their own business ventures. It is a great idea to use the Dragon Den format to challenge and engage your students. I will be interested in learning more about this unique entrepreneurial learning experience as the story continues.

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