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!
Schools from around the world have embraced the Branding Mini-Competition 2019 and produced an incredible range of designs to promote their businesses!
Some teams took their first steps by designing a logo while others created flyers, banners, badges, social media pages and more. Scroll down to see some of our favourites!
Students from Peru, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo and many more countries got the chance to learn about the importance of branding thanks to our latest mini-competition.
Starting with a logo
We encourage teams taking part on the Bronze Level to start by designing a logo for their school business. A logo is important because it acts as the ‘face’ of any business and will often be the first thing customers see. When designing a logo it’s important to convey the unique identity of the business!
Top tip for designing a great logo: Keep it simple! The world’s most famous logos, like Nike or McDonalds, can all be drawn by hand from memory. If you want to design your own great logo, we recommend using Canva. It’s free and easy to use!
3 of the best logos, from left to right: The logos designed by the students at Centro Escolar Daniel Hernandez in El Salvador, Sam Boachie Senior High School in Ghana and DAV Public School Sahibabad in India.
The beauty of the School Enterprise Challenge is that participants are welcome to set up any kind of business they desire. Students are encouraged to look at the resources already available around them at their school and to think of how they could turn them into a profitable business.
Top tip #1: Remember to refer to the Business Guides 1, 2, 3 & 4 – they contain all the activities and examples your team will need to come up with a fantastic business idea!
What kind of businesses do schools usually set up?
Over the years schools set up an incredibly wide range of businesses. Some of the most popular types of businesses include:
- Farming (vegetables, fruit, chickens, rabbits)
- Textiles (T-shirts, dresses, school uniforms, jute bags)
- Food Production (cakes, juices, snacks to go)
- Entertainment (party planning, musical band, theatre troupe)
- Handicrafts (jewellery, decorations, notepads)
Some of the most innovative businesses that have been set up as part of the School Enterprise Challenge include a Cooperative Bank in Peru, Aquaponics (fish rearing) in Uganda and a Talent Identification and Development Agency in Zimbabwe!
So, your production team have been working hard, you’ve planned your first launch event and now you’re ready to start making some sales! Or are you? Follow our checklist and make sure everything is in order!
A checklist example with the things you might need to get ready before launching your school business!
(You can find this in Weekly Guide 10)
Remember, to help you with the implementation phase of the programme you should refer to the Weekly Guides 10-14. To access these, you’ll need to log in to our website with your username (the email address you registered with) and your password by clicking HERE.
Below we’ve picked the 5 most useful tips to help you successfully launch your school business.
Coming up with a Business Idea and creating a Business Plan is fun, challenging and educational all at the same time. However, the true value in the School Enterprise Challenge lies in setting up a real School Enterprise that is run by students and generates income for the school.
With our Sunday 30th October 2016 deadline for Final Reports approaching we have put together a list of our top 4 tips to help you put theory into practice and successfully launch your school business.
Play to your students’ strengths
How you manage your school business team will play a crucial role in launching your business. Assigning clear roles to all of your students, based on their strengths and interest, will empower them to really take ownership of the business and ensure it runs smoothly.
Students are known to be more focused and perform their duties better when they are clear about what these are. We recommend you think about what skills each team member already has as well as the skills they would like to develop and distribute roles accordingly. Once the business is successfully up and running you can rotate teams, giving students new responsibilities, as a way of increasing their learning experience while keeping things new and interesting for them.