Business projects can be large or small in scope and can encompass any number of subjects, but to really get your students immersed in a business plan try to find ways to incorporate the community into the business model. Introducing place and philanthropy can give students new ways of thinking but can also show them how to make a buck while helping their neighbours.
Birthday Party Organizers
In 2010 six students from Souhegan High School created a business project that can easily be copied and adapted throughout the country. In order to qualify for a United Way Youth Venture grant, the students created a project called Birthday Wish, a business that puts together birthday packages. Part of Birthday Wish deals with donating birthday packages (cakes, favours, etc) to underprivileged children, while the other side of the business sells party packages to people with means. Birthday Wish also holds fundraisers throughout the year. Students looking to start their own project can borrow many effective elements from Birthday Wish in order to jumpstart their own successful business model.
Students looking to build a business project that focuses on community and music can take a page from a group of University of Georgia students who decided to turn a school business plan into an actual company that organises community music concerts. For the first project, the company (H.E.R.) brought together community leaders, known musical groups and smaller performers under one roof for a large-scale hip-hop event. In putting together the project, H.E.R. members had to draft contracts, negotiate rates, work with the venue and coordinate scheduling. But students can scale down this model to create a concert that fits into the capabilities of the organisers, and any number of project variations can spring from the H.E.R. model.
Community Book Project
Another business project that involves the community is a student community book project. Students should first survey their community and find out what type of community-oriented book citizens would be interesting in reading, whether it be a serious historical account with interviews and old photos or a lighter picture-book tutorial aimed at younger members of the community. Book projects can be quite extensive in that students will have to first seek out and organise the information, they will have to raise funds for the initial printing and they will have to finally sell the books to the public. But in each step they will learn valuable business strategies and make connections that could endure long after the project is finished.
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