Have you ever envisioned your kids starting a business of their own someday? Do you think they have what it takes to get it done — that entrepreneurial spirit that would make them want to develop a product, market it, and sell it?
Creative Kids Co-Op, the homeschool co-op our family is a part of, offers middle schoolers a taste of entrepreneurship through a class called “mini-economy.” Allison (7th grade) was part of this class this semester, and got a lot of hands-on experience with some of the ins and outs of running a business.
In a mini-economy, students “create” their own society, name it, design and print their own money, and plan which businesses will be a part of this society. They work together to develop products to market and sell to other students in their school, all the while learning about economics, including such things as supply and demand, goal-setting, marketing, and pricing.
Allison’s class named their society “Neon World” and designed and printed “bright bucks” as their currency. Then they got busy brainstorming what businesses they would start. Allison and three of her friends worked together to create “The Crafty Shoppe.” They made and sold things like duct-tape wallets, pet rocks, flubber, bookmarks, and these cute little clay owl jewelry holders.
Normally, mini-economy classes from several regional schools get together for what’s called a global market day, or GEM Fair (Global Entrepreneurship Marketplace Fair — whew!). This is a chance for each school to display the businesses they have created as well as to buy and sell to each other. The event culminates in an awards ceremony, with awards being presented for categories such as: most innovative product, outstanding marketing, young entrepreneur of the year, and outstanding essay on the theme “What I Learned in Mini-Society/Economy.” Unfortunately the global market day was cancelled this year due to a March snow storm here in the Shenandoah Valley.
But the GEM fair coordinators graciously visited each school at a later date and judged the students’ work in their classrooms. The scores were tallied and the awards were given at each school. Yesterday was our last day of co-op for the year, and the awards for mini-economy winners were given at our year-end assembly.
Around 500 students from several different schools participated in this competition, and our homeschool co-op held its own very well. One of our students was awarded “Young Entrepreneur of the Year”, and all three of the prizes for outstanding essay were awarded to students in our co-op, with second prize going to our very own 7th grader, Allison!
Her business, The Crafty Shoppe, also won the “Most Innovative Products” award. She was delighted, and of course, so were we! Here she is with the other Crafty Shoppe girls, receiving that award. (She’s the cutie in the turquoise. :))
And here is a little slide show of some of the other businesses in our co-op’s mini-economy.
I would highly recommend this class to any of you who would like to start one in your school or homeschool co-op. You can find out more information of what that might involve here.
And you can watch a You Tube video about it here .
View an earlier post on how to make a clay owl jewelry holder.