By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Business Basics
Enterprise project walks kids through how to create a business
Third graders at Riley Elementary School Wednesday prepared to open shop, selling product to customers as part of an American Enterprise project designed and led by GBHS student Selam Ball. Parents and teachers traded for cookies, lemonade, jewelry, and the chance to play games using pretend money at the open house held after school. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

When the Great Bend High School Future Business Leaders of America team went to the annual State Leadership Conference in 2013, watching eight of  her fellow classmates win a trip to the FBLA Nationals lit a fire under Selam Ball.  
“I wanted to do something big so I could go to the national competition in California.  I didn’t make it last year but this year I’ve come up with something that I could actually qualify with.”
That something is an American Enterprise project.  Designed to promote some facet of the American Enterprise system within the school or the community and be designed for chapter participation rather than individual participation.  The intent is to help members learn more about the economic system under which they live and to share their expertise in some way with others inside or outside the school, according to the FBLA guidelines.

Simple business
Ball and her team designed the project with the goal in mind to teach third and fourth graders about the basic aspects of entrepreneurship, walking them through the steps to create their own businesses.  On the final week,  students broke into businesses selling lemonade, cookies, jewelry and recreational games to parents.  They used pretend money to make the trade.  At the end, students used the money to trade for prizes after the sale.    
Wednesday, the team met with students at Riley Elementary for their final lesson and open house.  
“We had four lessons to teach, but with the snow days in January, we had to combine the third and fourth day together,” Ball said.  

Open House
Ball reminded the students to wait until after the open house to “test” the cookies and lemonade.  “Then if you have enough left that you want to eat and drink, then you are welcome to,” she said to the room of excited students, reminding them to think about selling them to their customers.  “And no licking your fingers!”
Juan and Cindy, students in Parker Grose’s third grade class, were laying out several colorful bracelets at their space on the lunchroom table.  
“We made bracelets out of rubber bands,” Juan said.  “I think it’s going good, and it’s going to be cool.”  
“Probably a lot of people might come,” Cindy said.  She explained how customers would use the pretend money to shop and purchase items the students were selling.  
Ball approached the two young entrepreneurs, and their fellow classmates.
“Are you guys ready?  What are you going to sell these for?”
Twenty-five cents, they answered.
“Are you sure?  These are worth a lot more than $.25.  You spent a lot of time making these,” she said.  The kids looked over their bracelets, and decided to change their price, slipping in a one to make the new price $1.25 on their poster board sign.
“That’s it.  A $1.25 is more like it,” Ball said.  “That way you don’t sell them too cheap.”  
It takes between 20 minutes to one hour to make each bracelet, the kids said.  

Next step
Third and fourth graders were Ball’s choice age groups to work with because during her research, she learned they were at the age where they were both familiar enough about money to understand what they were learning, and open enough to learn the lessons she and her group were there to teach.  
Grose said the kids were very excited about the project, and looked forward each week to the next time the “high school kids” were coming.
Now that the project is complete, Ball still has a long road ahead of her before she learns if her dream of going to nationals will come true.  Not only does a detailed and lengthy report need to be written, Ball and her team will need to present the project and its results at the FBLA State Leadership Conference coming up March 25 -27 in Topeka.
This year, the FBLA National Leadership Conference will be held in Nashville, Tenn.