Recently, Dan Schawbel wrote an article for Tech Crunch on why students should gain entrepreneurial experience before graduating. In my career exploration class I teach to 7th and 8th grade students I have been adding different entrepreneurial activities and tasks into the curriculum to help build their critical thinking skills. From an educator’s point of view, entrepreneurial skills lend themselves to the Common Core Learning Standards for College and Career Readiness for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
After watching Thomas Suarez, a 12 year old self taught iPhone app developer who started his own company CarrotCorp, I thought about my own students and how many of them have their own ideas for future businesses. This summer I am writing a curriculum for a semester long entrepreneurial elective for my middle school students that would offer budding entrepreneurs insight into starting their own business and potentially profiting from their ideas.
The elective contains three units of study:
I. How to turn an idea into an actual product? This unit of study would focus on taking a business or product concept to fruition. Students would write a business plan and investigate other entrepreneurs, (especially teen entrepreneurs) who have successfully started their own businesses.
II. Students would participate in engaging hands on activities that would offer insight to help them understand business lingo. In addition, student would set up websites, blogs and create other public relations devices to market their ideas and potential businesses.
III. Students develop and market their product to a panel of business “judges.” In addition, throughout the school year guest speakers would visit the classroom and interact with students to offer guidance and support.
Essential questions include:
- How can some one turn a passion or hobby into a profitable business?
- What are the skills students need to start their own business?
- What is a business plan and how does it benefit a business?
- How does an entrepreneur successfully market and sell his/her product?