by Erika Solberg
Would you be interested in an international bakery/hotel where you can buy food with a Greek mythology theme while you book a room?
What about a metal straw with filters holding drink mix so you can make your Sprite or Crystal Lite while on the go?
The students in two business-focused classes at SCATS hope you will be interested in these ideas and more. In Entrepreneurship: Entre-what?, students have built their own businesses while learning about adaptability and problem solving. In Setting Up Shop, students have learned how to run a successful business while using math skills in a real-world setting. In both classes, whether working alone, in pairs, or in teams, students have used their creativity and logic to imagine what the world might want to buy from them.
Katie Perraut of Lagrange, who teaches Entrepreneurship, is the gifted and talented coordinator at Eastland Middle School in Oldham County and is teaching at SCATS as her practicum for the gifted endorsement. She is very familiar with the camp because she attended it in 2003. Her course was designed by her gifted and talented students at Eastland this spring: “I asked them what they wanted to learn when they came back from NTI, and they overwhelmingly said business. They developed all of the sections of the course — budgeting, branding, marketing — all I did was facilitate.” To add some real-world experience, Katie had each business draw a card that determined their initial amount of capital and each day draw a “life card” where good and bad events affected their businesses and required them to adapt.
Katie explained that the SCATS students came up with ideas for their businesses on the first day of class and have been developing them over the two weeks of camp: “One student wanted to do something with online tutorials for art, and another wanted to sell art, so they smashed their ideas together to create a web platform for new artists. There has been a lot of collaboration.”
Jessica Hampton of Glasgow, who teaches Setting Up Shop, is the gifted and talented coordinator for Caverna Independent Schools. She is also working on her gifted endorsement. She wanted to teach a course where she could “integrate math into the real world, and what better way to do that than with business? They have used decimals and fractions to estimate costs, adapt recipes, and more.”
On the first Tuesday of class, students worked on marketing plans for their businesses and had a lot of fun inventing products — Max Tolar of Paducah was proud of the ham(ster) and cheese sandwich his group planned to sell at their restaurant. On the second Monday, the students worked on finding a city in which to establish their business and created financial plans by using loopnet.com, a website that helps entrepreneurs find business locations across the U.S. Jessie Baird of Pikeville hoped to place his game store, Game Bop, in Brooklyn “because it’s a very populated place.” He faced some challenges, however: “The storefronts are really expensive, and there’s no way I can run any ads without paying a wild amount of money.
Back in Entrepreneurship, on the second Wednesday, students were calculating their remaining start-up costs and working on branding. The businesses covered a wide range. Coconade, for instance created by Jaden Mostiller of Louisville; Braden Fender of Bolivar, TN; Anik Pansuria of Bowling Green; Luke Popplewell of Jamestown; and Jack Sternberg of Bowling Green, sells hot cocoa in the winter and lemonade in the summer. Another, Safe or Stylish, created by Korrin Green of Bowling Green; Caralee Stokes of Springfield, TN; and Tinsley Jamison of Bowling Green, sells a watch for women that also provides assistance in emergencies. JAC, created by KateJarboe of Shepherdsville and Allie Poynter of Horse Cave, sells jewelry, art, and clothing.
The students enjoyed many different aspects of the work. Kate liked that her business “is actually doable and not that hard to start up.” Korrin enjoyed designing the logo, which “uses a lotus and specific colors.” On the last days of class, the classmates will build prototypes and create a poster depicting every aspect of the business they have created.
The last days in Setting Up Shop will include converting recipes to bulk quantities, discussions on making a profit, and talking about how each business evolved over time. On the second Wednesday, students were finishing up presenting business plans to the class to solicit investments.
Claire Myatt of Mount Hermon presented the business she and Iris Bailey of Berea created, the Rise and Shine Coffee Shop. Claire went over several items, including the cost of the building, the location in Louisville close to interstate, the number of employees, and their plan to focus advertising on social media which would be less expensive than other forms. They were looking for $80,000 in start-up money but actually received $160,000 and one cent.
Several SCATS students are taking both business classes. Katie and Jessica were concerned some might feel they were taking the same class twice, but their students assured them the courses have different approaches that make them worthwhile. Katie pointed out that students were able to make helpful connections between the two classes as well. In both courses, students appreciated the chance to choose among many options and make something that was all theirs.
Entrepreneurship student Anik said, “I’ve always liked financial stuff and numbers and the idea of starting a business, so it’s really cool. Our teacher is letting us do everything, just like in a real business.”
Tinsley, who is taking both classes, said, “Both classes are really interesting. I like all the math. I’ve enjoyed designing our business because it is all our ideas and we made it.”