Success for secondary school student entrepreneurs
The Business Studies programme at Al Madinah School in Auckland is only in its second year, but six students have already won a regional entrepreneurship competition.
Article by Nazmeen Zaim, HOD Commerce, Al Madinah School
The Business Studies programme at Al-Madinah School enables year 12 students to deal with real issues and needs, and provide real solutions. Students get to work in groups to identify an issue or a need, set up a business plan and execute it.
One of the groups is the Impervious team, comprising year 12 students Zakia Bibi, Sabrina Bryant, Musharafa Nisha, Shahidah Faiz, Aslayna Ali and Aishah Bangi.
The Impervious team, formed to participate in the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), conducted market research that identified a need in their community for water-resistant and affordable canvas shoes.
The team researched how to make canvas water-resistant and applied the concept to school shoes made out of canvas. The shoes were tested and people were amazed with the result.
The school decided to embark on this learning programme to help students develop their personal and business skills; to enable them to be innovative thinkers and to cultivate their enterprise attributes.
Two groups participated in YES, and the Impervious team did well by winning the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme South Auckland Region Award 2017 – Start-up Company of the Year Award. The other team, Hashtag Seven, made vegan gummy lollies for those with diet restrictions.
Throughout the Challenge, the Impervious team involved their community while developing their plan.
They presented their business pitch with the prototype to a group of judges and received positive feedback as a result. One of the judges suggested promoting the product to a primary school since she herself has the issue of wet shoes with her grandchildren.
With community feedback, Impervious came up with additional features like glow in the dark materials and special laces to attract more children.
Throughout the process, students had the opportunity to work with people outside the classroom. They were supported by a group of successful entrepreneurs, business alumni, and YES coordinators/roaming teachers and of course, their business studies teacher.
Impervious promoted their product through social media, school newsletters and the YES night market, where they managed to sell enough to break even and continue their business next year.
Impervious and the other teams are looking at setting up more businesses that address community needs in 2018. Impervious is thinking of providing a service to enable people to bring their own canvas shoes to them, so they can be made water-resistant.
The Al Madinah commerce department is looking forward to extending the programme to year 13 in 2018, and is preparing more teams for YES Challenges.
“The Young Enterprise Scheme was a great challenge for us, as it was our first year doing something like this. Throughout this journey we came across many different challenges where we gained a lot of skills and confidence in speaking in front of a lot of people.”
“The business that we set up taught us a lot about how to manage a business financially, carry out the production process, and market it outside our comfort zone. In the future these skills will help us in our studies and at work places.”
Zakia Bibi and Sabrina Bryant, Impervious team, YES.
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