Learning and earning: Young entrepreneurs funding positive change in their community

In 2017, student-entrepreneurs taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge generated an incredible $694,535* in income. That’s right, over 83,000 students from around the world planned, set up and are running their very own school-based businesses! Not only that, they have used the money earned to benefit their school and the local community.

Want to know which type of business students set up? Check out this article to get inspired!

Schools taking part in the programme are encouraged to set up a gender-balanced Business Management Committee, made up of student business team members, teachers and parents, that meets regularly to oversee how the business is run. The Business Management Committee agrees democratically on how to spend the profits generated in a way that is sustainable and will have maximum impact**.

Schools can spend their profits in a variety of ways. For example, part of the profits could be reinvested in the business as well as used to make improvements at the school AND be donated to a local cause. In 2017, ¾ of schools, including Conalep Agua Prieta in Mexico, chose to reinvest a portion of their profit back into the business to ensure long-term success. By buying more tools, refilling their seeds supply and investing in marketing, they were able to ensure that more students at their school can be part of their vegetable growing business. This means that multiple generations of students at the school get to develop essential life skills like teamwork, problem solving and leadership!

Conalep Agua Prieta

Students at Conalep Agua Prieta in Mexico have set up a successful vegetable growing business which generated US$350 profit in 2017. As well as reinvesting in the business to ensure long-term success, they have also increased the number of scholarships available at the school and invested in the school canteen.




Other schools, like Gombe Junior School in Uganda, elected to spend part of their profit on improving facilities at their school. They invested part of the money generated to purchase plastic chairs for their school that are being used not only by the business team members in their meetings but are also at school assemblies and functions. Continue reading

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Celebrating the Movers & Shakers: Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day

The United Nations (UN) has declared 27th June to be Micro, Small & Medium-sized Enterprises Day (MSMEs) in recognition of their role in sustainable development.

The UN reports that MSMEs makeup over 90% of all firms and account on average for 60-70% of total employment in addition to 50% of GDP globally. Their importance in  a more sustainable future cannot be underestimated!

Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Day 2018 (1)

MSMEs play a particularly important role in fighting poverty because they employ a large numbers of people from more vulnerable areas of society such as women and young people or those from poorer households. This is further highlighted in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, specifically goals 8 and 9.

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5 top tips for coming up with a great business idea

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!

Range of businesses montage

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Student experience: The benefits of taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge

Taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge can be a life-changing experience for many. By being part of a school business, students get the chance to learn essential life skills in a non-traditional way: learning through doing. Here, two member of the Global Youth Advisory Panel, Nikita Soni (Choithram School) and Anusha Goel (Kulachi Hansraj Model School) reflect on their experience in the School Enterprise Challenge so far.

Which aspect of taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge have you enjoyed the most?

YAP - Nikita Soni (2)Nikita: “The Fundraising event turned out to be the most enjoyable part of the School Enterprise Challenge. The event brought us across the situation of an actual business. We could see and feel what customers look for: their outlook while shopping, their positive encouraging statements along with some negative replies. We faced the problems which we had read about in the books and learnt how to manage them in real life. We saw how in practice certain circumstances showed up unexpectedly and how team work and mutual support helped us get out of them. These events imbibed in us valuable experience and confidence.”

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“Persistence is key”: 2017 prize winners share their experience

Oasis de Esperanza School in Nicaragua have been taking part in the School Enterprise Challenge since 2013. Over the years they’ve established a successful handicrafts and jewellery business and in 2017 they won the Americas Regional Prize at Annual Report Stage worth $2,000. In this interview they share with us how their business has evolved.

Oasis de Esepranza Nicaragua - selling in a supermarket

The students at Oasis de Esepranza School in Nicaragua have established a succesful handicrafts business. Here they are selling their products in a local mall.

What does it mean to you and your students to participate in the School Enterprise Challenge for 4 years and finally win an award?

It means that all the effort that we have done for these years has been worth it. We have been rewarded for those years of effort and persistence, always believing in ourselves and how much we could achieve.

How has your school business grown over the years? What have you and your students gained by participating year after year?

Our school business has grown in production, in quality, in organisation and above all in experience. By participating in the School Enterprise Challenge students have developed skills like teamwork and a good attitude towards projects for life. These skills are key for their education, for their future jobs and for their lives. In addition, the monetary gains have been used for doing repairs in the school and to invest in the school business with new equipment and supplies.

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School Enterprise Challenge 2017 prize winners announced!

2017 was another incredibly successful year with over 80,000 students from 6,000 schools around the world involved in school businesses! From organic vegetable farming in India to a talent identification and development agency in Zimbabwe, young entrepreneurs have been busy planning and running all kinds of sustainable businesses!

Young people from 110 countries around the globe got the opportunity to take their learning experience out of the classroom and develop key skills for success in life and in work such as communications, teamwork, problem solving and critical thinking.

It was absolutely inspirational reading through the thousands of business plans and annual reports received this year.  Our global panel of judges have now reviewed them all and we are very pleased to announce the prize winners for the School Enterprise Challenge 2017. You can see the full list below.

[Note: The School Enterprise Challenge team are currently working very hard to get everything ready for the 2018 Awards Programme. Registrations will open very soon – you can register your interest in taking part on our website.]

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Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017


“Every big business in this world was started by an entrepreneur — and small businesses are the ones creating the jobs, innovating and making life better for everybody.” – Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group.

From the 13th to the 19th of November, the School Enterprise Challenge community proudly celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017. Held each year, it is a celebration of the global network of individuals united by an interest in social entrepreneurship and positive change.

Why do we celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week?

The School Enterprise Challenge not only works to develop essential life-skills, but we also aim to make young people realise they are part of something much bigger: a global movement. All over the world, participants of the School Enterprise Challenge are members of a vibrant, international community of entrepreneurs championing new initiatives and bringing their ideas to life.

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