SUSTAINABILITY: School businesses that keep on growing

William Lyonga bio for blog

Now that the Final Report deadline for the School Enterprise Challenge 2016 has passed, we look at how schools can keep their businesses going into the new year. We spoke with William Lyonga of Bishop Rogan College in Cameroon, winner of our Inspirational Teacher Award in 2014 and current member of our Teacher Advisory Panel.

What steps have you taken to ensure that the school business continues to operate beyond the Final Report deadline?

The business team has planned to continue business activities as normal.  In our situation of a Gardening Business, here in Cameroon, we have two farming seasons, one at the start of the academic year and the other at the fourth quarter of the academic year.  The second period is still to come and members have agreed to plant more crops during the second farming season.  Farm products are needed all throughout the year.

If it comes to other types of businesses which might not deal with perishable goods, a school may choose to produce and then market later. Say for example during low production season or prepare for next season when these products might be on demand.

How does the school business keep progressing beyond the final report deadline?

I hope school businesses are not just School Enterprise Challenge oriented businesses, where the focus is competition and nothing more.  I believe that schools and business teams are motivated with the results they obtain during the competition, which therefore means they should remain active after the competition. We should keep our businesses going!!!

What challenges do you expect to face in the coming weeks?

Lack of competitive spirit among the school business team.  Some students would think that the competition is over and therefore see no need to worry much about the business.  We needed to have prepared the minds of the students that the business will continue after the competition.

How do you keep SEC students motivated now that the competition itself has come to an end?

If they did well during the competition period, then they need to reap the fruits of their labour.  Proceeds from the competition period could be used to motivate members and encourage them to continue, especially when the academic year has not ended.  For example, in Cameroon the school year is not midway gone.  The rest of the months could be used to generate income to accomplish their goals. Some schools are aspiring to win good prizes; this too may keep the spirit of the business team alive.

What pieces of advice would you like to share with other teachers regarding this time of year?

Business should continue as usual during this period.  I hope that some business teams have prepared a post-competition plan. If not, it would be good if teachers do this with their team because the students need to be prepared psychologically that they have to continue with the business, even after the competition.  This period could be used to mentor or train new students who have expressed interest to join the business team for next academic year.


This interview was part of our Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 celebrations in which we try to inspire students and teachers to create the best school businesses they possibly can. What did you think of William’s advice? Do you have any thoughts that you would like to share with the School Enterprise Challenge Community? Please comment in the section below!

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Global Entrepreneurship Week: Inspiration From a School Enterprise Challenge Graduate

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Mbulelo Mandindi (19 years old) graduated from Hillcrest High School in South Africa in 2014. A School Enterprise Challenge participant during his time there he acted as a team leader in their business, King Circle Events. With the programme having had a huge impact on him, he remained involved in its running through 2015, further highlighting his huge level of commitment. He is now in the process of setting up his very own social enterprise alongside his studies in Transport Management at Johannesburg University.

Tell us a little bit about your business

“My company is called Future Bryt. It’s a socially innovative company that focuses on children’s fitness. We aim to provide a solution for an increasingly alarming social problem – a dangerously low level of activity amongst children born between 2004 and 2008, who are considered to be the most inactive generation of children in history.”

Did taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge help you set up your business?

“Yes, the School Enterprise Challenge definitely helped me set up my own business. In fact, it almost completely reshaped my perception of business. It introduced me to the prospect of businesses having a much greater role to play in society.”

What specific business skills did you gain from the School Enterprise Challenge which helped you set up your business now?

“As leader of the school business I came to appreciate how valuable a good organisational structure is and that is something I still focus on now.”

What do you plan on doing with your earnings?

“I plan on spending at least 70% of my earnings to grow and further develop the business, 20% to make a difference and 10% for myself. I will do this mainly by focusing immensely on disabled children in South Africa; there aren’t enough measures in place to ensure that they have the same amount of opportunities at their disposal as children without disabilities, especially if they come from underprivileged backgrounds.”

Did your experience working on the school business help you get into university?

“It enhanced my cognitive abilities to a certain extent, and it also helped enhance my interpersonal skills. I found myself being able to articulate my thoughts much more clearly.”

What advice would you give to young aspiring entrepreneurs?

“I’d simply tell them to use their hunger and their desire for more – to hunt down their dreams. However, they must understand that not only hard work but also rejections are part of the journey. Obstacles are many but in the end, it’s all worth it. In the end, they’ll find themselves looking towards hunting down the next dream, well equipped with the lessons you learnt when hunting down the previous dream.”


This interview was part of our case studies series in which we try to capture the spirit of the School Enterprise Challenge. Our aim is to use these stories to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs.

How did you find Mbulelo Mandindi’s story? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Do you know a School Enterprise Challenge participant who could inspire others across the globe? Please get in touch with us by email at info@schoolenterprisechallenge.org and their story could make it onto our blog!

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Logo Mini-Competition 2016 winners

We would like to start saying a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who participated in the 2016 School Enterprise Challenge Logo Mini-Competition! We had an incredible amount of submissions this year, with over 100 schools sending in wonderful logos. We really enjoyed looking at every single one and picking a winner was very difficult process for us because we really liked them all!

For this reason, as well as an overall winner, we have also picked two runners-up and a further 7 logos which we think stood out from the rest. We wanted to recognise as many logos as possible. Please comment in the section at the bottom of this page to show your appreciation for these great logos!
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The Winner of the 2016 Logo Mini-Competition comes from Mount Abu Public School in India. This stylish and colourful design does a fantastic job of advertising their school business, Herbs & Cure. We think it has everything a good logo should: Bright colours, simple but elegant design and includes the name of the business. Congratulations to the Mount Abu SEC students for their brilliant logo!

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Runner up #1: Just looking at this logo made us thirsty! In one image these students have perfectly summed up their school business. We like it because we have no doubt that this design will attract customers, which is exactly what a good logo should do!

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Runner up #2: Bharathi Vindhyaa Kendhra. The school business is called Nutrigiene, which is a combination of ‘nutrition’ and ‘hygiene’. This logo, along with the company motto – nutrition, health, wellness – makes a very strong brand in our opinion.

There you have our overall winner and two close runners up. We have also picked 7 logos which deserve recognition for the following categories: most unique, most innovative, stand-out design, most creative, best slogan, most impactful and most artistic.

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Most Unique – Maharaja Agarsain Public School

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Most Innovative – Bright Start Fellowship International School

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Stand-Out Design – ASN Senior Secondary School

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Most Creative – Mira Model School

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Best Slogan – Springwood School Neemuch

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Most Impactful – The Heritage School Kolkata

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Most Artistic – School of Tourism

Again, we would like to say a big ‘congratulations’ to everyone who participated in the 2016 Logo Mini-Competition. As we said, we received an enormous amount of submissions and picking a winner was incredibly difficult so please do not be disappointed if you were not selected. We hope you enjoyed the process of designing the logo for your school business and learned a useful skill!

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Putting Theory Into Practice: Launching 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.

Make sure you watch our YouTube video for more detailed information on how to effectively manage your school business team.

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Watch our handy Youtube Video to learn more about how to manage your school business team.

Hold a launch event

Holding a launch event is a great way to raise awareness and create excitement surrounding your product or service.

Although it can require quite a lot of planning, the long-term benefits of having a launch event are undeniable. Not only will you be able to advertise your business and make those initial sales to get you going, you will also get the opportunity to meet your customers and get to know them personally. You can take this chance to get feedback on your business to better tailor it to the needs of your consumers, which will hopefully lead to more profit in the future!

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Learning Paths School in India recently held a fantastic launch event for their business, Paper Bank, where they sold their notepads made from recycled paper.

Be motivated

Student motivation and the success of your school business are directly linked… Fact. Teachers always tell us that motivated students are more enthusiastic, more cooperative and contribute more than their less motivated peers. So, how can you keep your teams motivated? Well, the truth is there isn’t a single correct answer. Different students react to different kinds of motivation. Below are some of our favourite motivation methods we have seen SEC teachers use in recent years:

  • Use praise: Praising students, either in a one-on-one conversation or mentioning them during an all-school assembly is a great way to let them know that they are doing a great job. It will make them feel proud and make them hungry for more success.
  • Use rewards: Rewarding students with small items such as certificates or stickers is another great way to keep them motivated. Star Performer and Salesperson of the Week are just two types of reward certificates you could hand out… Be creative!
  • Appoint champions: Motivation is contagious so assigning your most enthusiastic students as chief motivators could have a fantastic effect on the morale of their peers.

Of course, there are many more things you can do. We encourage you to be as creative as possible. Remember that if the teacher is motivated, the students are more likely to be motivated, so make sure you set a good example by being enthusiastic throughout!

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High Spirits – students at the Managha Primary School in Tanzania showing high levels of motivation at the launch of their new school business, Mavepro.

Don’t let a lack of capital hold you back

Schools often tell us they can’t launch their business because they don’t have the necessary funds to start. We want to remind you that the beauty of the School Enterprise Challenge is that it teaches students to do the best they can with what they already have at their disposal. In the past, schools have used a wide range of methods ranging from starting micro-versions of their business to selling shares in exchange for investment in order to raise the money they needed. You can read all about them in our handy guide, Raising Your Startup Capital.

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Indeco Community School in Zambia set up a micro-business, selling bags made from recycled materials to tourists, to fund their school uniform business.


Well there you have it, our top 4 tips on a successful launch. Do you have any advice you would like to share with us?

How do you split your students into teams? Have you had a successful launch event? Have you got a great way of motivating your students? Did you launch a business without any starting capital?

We want to hear your story! We’d love to hear any interesting tips that you have so please share them with us and the rest of the School Enterprise Challenge Community in the comments section below.

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This article was written by our new Programme Support Officer, Christophe.  If you’d like to welcome him to the School Enterprise Challenge community or give him some feedback on the article, please don’t hesitate to send him an email to info@schoolenterprisechallenge.org – he’ll be happy to hear from you!

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Blogging Mini Competition: What Makes a Good Blog?

The School Enterprise Challenge blogging mini competition is in full swing now! We’ve already received some wonderful blogs and can’t wait to get some more! To encourage you to start or update your own blog, we are sharing some top tips about blogging!

top tipsWe understand that the thought of blogging can be sometimes daunting, but we hope this post will show you just how fun and easy it really is! Once you’ve set up your blog, you’ll want to make sure it stays relevant and interesting. Here are some Top Tips to do it:

  • It is important to blog regularly, at least once every two weeks. This keeps your audience and readers engaged and helps build a friendly online relationship with other bloggers!
  • Spend some time making your blog attractive, for example by adding nice photos. Remember, your blog is an opportunity for you to advertise your business and gain new fans and customers!
  • 20140218-IMG_4135Content. Your entries should tell about the progress of your school enterprise. In the early stages, you will probably want to focus on how you have come up with your idea, and as your enterprise progresses you will focus more on sales, production and any events that you might have held. Your blog is an opportunity for you to share your journey with others!
  • Keep your posts short, sweet and informative, not everyone will be keen to read a long post! You should aim to keep your posts between 400-500 words
  • Engage with other users! Leaving comments, liking and sharing posts or following blogs, helps to increase your blog’s activity. Leaving comments on the posts of other School Enterprise Challenge blogs is a great way to share ideas and potentially receive friendly advice on how to help your business grow!
  • Limages (1)et people know about your posts. Make sure to share your blog posts on all your social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter!
  • Never forget that this is for fun! The best blogs tend to be those that are written naturally, so always remember to have fun when you write!

We hope these tips are useful and aid you on your way to creating a successful and entertaining blog. Here is an example of a blog that caught our eye!

CAKEStudents at Kulachi Hansraj Model School, India have done a great job of keeping their audience and the community regularly informed of their developments, doing so with a great blend of images and text! They have shared their journey from the start, while cleverly advertising their product. Click here to take a look at their fantastic blog!

Do not forget to share your blog’s address with us by emailing info@schoolenterprisechallenge.org and you could be our next blogging mini competition winner! Happy blogging from everyone at the School Enterprise Challenge team, we hope to see your blogs up and running soon!

happy blogging

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Enter our 2016 Mentoring Programme!

Whether you’re just starting your school business or your business is already up and running– our mentoring scheme is for you!

The Mentoring Programme is a unique opportunity to learn from carefully selected business mentors who are experts in their fields and want to help you succeed in your enterprise!

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is an opportunity to receive one to one support and guidance from a professional working in the business world.

A mentor shares their ideas, knowledge, skills and experience to help your business grow! It is about more than giving advice, it’s about motivating and empowering you so you can reach your goals and set new ones!

A mentor is not someone you only contact when you face difficulties or have specific questions, but someone who can guide you and give you a fresh perspective even when you think things are going well.

Why join the programme?

It’s a unique opportunity to challenge yourself and reach your potential by receiving invaluable feedback from extremely knowledgeable mentors. Your mentor will be able to help you with your business plan and your final report! They will offer comments, feedback, and explain any confusing parts!

Colegio Bautista Libertad, NicaraguaIt helps to have fresh eyes go over your finished templates. Even when you’re doing great, your mentor will provide helpful comments, annotate your plan and help you get ahead in the Challenge!

If you’re just starting out in your business, you will – like everyone else – run into unexpected problems or unforeseen circumstances. In those cases, your mentor is the person you can turn to for new ideas and support!

If you’re running a successful business, your mentor will help you expand your business, increase your income or customers – sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.

Your mentoring relationship is as effective as you want it to be. You shouldn’t overwhelm your mentor – email them about 2 times per month, but make it count! They are more than happy to offer guidance – that’s why they signed up!

What might a correspondence with your mentor look like?

Take a look at our example!

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Last year, our schools were very happy with their mentors, and their support has really helped them!

Twitter exchange2St. Mark’s School in India said their mentor Abayomi, “was fantastic, easy to communicate, full of ideas and always ready with encouraging words.”

Samsara The World Academy said their mentor offered invaluable guidance” and the “suggestions and comments were really helpful in improving our school business and facilitated higher sales and popularity of our food items among the school students as well as their parents.”

The School Enterprise Challenge believes the Mentor Programme is for everyone, which means it is an excellent opportunity for you!

If you would like some more information, please download our Mentoring Information Pack for Schools. If you already decided that this opportunity is for you, click here to complete the registrations form!

Sign up for a mentor now and have an even more amazing School Enterprise Challenge yet! Our team of mentors are eagerly waiting for you to sign-up!

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Business Growth: The Next Exciting Challenge!

Setting up a business is a huge achievement! However, the journey is not over once you launch; to keep your business healthy you need to continue growing and diversifying it. So why not take your school business to the next level? Our Business Growth Track is here to help. Let’s check it out!

What is the Business Growth Track?

The Business Growth Track is designed to support schools to develop and diversify existing school businesses. Schools can increase the quantity of production, reach a new market or sell new products! They will learn about making sustainable long term goalsincreasing profits and reinvesting them, finding new customers, helping the community and much more!

Why join the Business Growth Track?

Business-Growth-shutterstock_243528934Expanding a business is not always easy. Even big companies face challenges when they don’t have a clear growth path. For this reason it is very important that you get your team’s business planning skills up again to create a Business Growth Idea and Plan! You will need to update your marketing plan, competitors analysis, financial figures etc. in order to take your business to the next level!

By growing your business, more students can get involved, more learning opportunities created, and more profits generated! Here you will find some examples of how to do it!

  • Diversify your production to reach even more costumers and markets!
  • If your business is seasonal, look for ways to operate during the whole year.
  • Purchase new tools and machinery to make your business more efficient.
  • Adjust your business’ structure so that teachers and students can benefit from specialisation!

Join the School Enterprise Challenge to get even more ideas and examples of how to grow or diversify your business!

Successful stories

Meet the Business Development Winners 2015 and some of their great business growth ideas!

Kulachi Hansraj website

Students at Kulachi Hansraj Model School in India set up an enterprise called Udaan Creating Identity that sells food, handicrafts, products made from recycled materials and has a fun zone for kids. Being the Top Global Prize Winner in 2014, they used this reputation to attract more customers and grow from a team of 20 to more than 250! With a big and motivated team, they are now able to target a diverse network of customers and respond to one-off opportunities such as festivals.

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Katosi C/U Primary School in Uganda started in 2014 producing liquid soap. In 2015, they were able to increase their production and start producing bathing soap. They launched the new product on the school’s open day and immediately attracted attention from the school and visitors! With the diversified production, they had a return on investment of 85%!

 

If you have a business, and you now see the importance of developing it even further, why don’t join the School Enterprise Challenge 2016 Business Growth Track? You still have time to register at www.schoolenterprisechallenge.org and take your business to the next exciting level!

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