Since 2011, thousands of schools around the world have been embracing the School Enterprise Challenge. From a snack stall in Paraguay to tree nurseries in India and home decorations in Rwanda, we’ve seen students and teachers set up all kinds of exciting businesses!
Now, more and more schools are ready to take things further and are asking us how they can start running more than one business at their school.
In this blog article we pick out the 3 key points to successfully running multiple student-led businesses at your school. These tips are based on 2 schools who we know are doing this really well already. If your school is operating more than one business make sure to tell us about it in the comments section at the end. We’d love to hear about it!
Why run multiple businesses at your school?
First things first, it’s important to know the benefits of running multiple businesses at your school. Rashmi Kathuria, a teacher at Kulachi Hansraj Model School in India who has been taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge since 2014, says:
“Running multiple businesses allows teachers to identify different interests and strengths among their students and also creates an opportunity for them to participate in different business functions across different sectors.
Beyond skills, it also allows us to motivate different kinds of students. With a range of businesses you can attract students with a range of interests.”
So, not only will you be able to involve more students and teachers, you’ll be able to give them an even more exciting and complete entrepreneurial experience.
As you know, we encourage all teams to rotate their members around the different areas of the business. If your school has multiple businesses, students will get to experience not only different areas but also different business sectors (eg. some time in a handicrafts business and some time in a vegetable farming business). This is a great way to develop an even wider range of skills!
How can you run multiple businesses at your school?
- GET SUPPORT from other teachers at your school – It’s important to acknowledge that supporting your students to plan and run their business is demanding. Even when operating just one business we recommend having at least 2 teachers involved. If you wish to operate more than one business you’ll need to bring more colleagues on board. Telling them how much you’ve benefited from doing it yourself is usually a good place to start. Then, offering them support when they need it is also important and rewarding.
- BE ORGANISED in how you run the businesses. It’s important to have a clear idea of how the businesses will operate in relation to each other. One option is to have an ‘umbrella’ brand which oversees the various businesses within it. This way you can have a management committee (made up of more experienced students) who are responsible for looking at the wider picture and making sure things run smoothly.
- COLLABORATE between the businesses. Although setting up businesses number 2 and 3 will be a challenge, you’ll find that things will start to get much easier. Once the additional businesses are running, you’ll find that they can bring many benefits to your original business. The businesses can become suppliers/clients of each other and even organise joint events. The ‘pulling power’ of multiple businesses is far greater than one operating alone!
Examples of how to run multiple businesses
Here are 3 of the many teams who are running multiple businesses at their school. We’ve picked out some of the key factors of their success for you to follow. You can also see their social media profiles for inspiration by clicking the links blow.
So there you have it, 3 practical tips and 2 real life examples of how you can run multiple businesses at your school! Do you have any tips you’d also like to share? Write them in the comments section below!
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