Student pairs will:
– identify entrepreneurs in USA TODAY and in their
– interview a local businessperson about the process of
becoming an entrepreneur.
– pinpoint business opportunities in their area, and
evaluate each against a given set of standards.
– formally present their best idea.
This project meets the following national standards for middle school:
NSS-EC.5-8.13 Income and Earning Students “understand (that) to earn income people sell productive resources. These include their labor, capital, natural resources, and entrepreneurial talents.” (NCEE)
NSS-EC.5-8.14 Entrepreneurs Students “understand (that) entrepreneurs compare the expected benefits of entering a new enterprise with the expected costs.”
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Evaluating Data“Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources . . . (and)communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.”(NCTE)
WEEK 1: According to Webster’s, an entrepreneur is “One who organizes, operates and assumes the risk in a business venture in expectation of gaining the profit.”Thus, entrepreneurs must be able to identify opportunities and problems, develop innovative ideas and solutions, bring necessary resources (e.g., human, physical and financial) together and be willing to take risks. Where can you find these intrepid individuals? They’re everywhere! With a partner, create a graphic organizer that lists the following headings across the top: Business; Product/Service; Want or Need Fulfilled. Next, look through USA TODAY and find five businesses mentioned in stories or advertisements. On your chart, record the name of each, the product or service it offers and the need or want that the product/service fulfills. Then, do the same for five small businesses in your community. Voilà! In no time, you have identified 10 businesses that were started by entrepreneurs. Now, you and your partner should choose one local entrepreneur to interview. Record his or her responses to the following questions: 1.) What was your original business idea? 2.) How did you come up with that idea? 3.) What opportunity did it address? 4.) Define your product or service. 5.) Who is your major market? 6.) Who are your major competitors and what is your competitive edge? 7.) Where is your business located? Why did you select that location? 8.) Where did you get the money to start your business?
WEEK 2: Last week, you and your partner identified entrepreneurs and interviewed a local businessperson. This week, you will look for business opportunities that might succeed in your area. Entrepreneurs often get their ideasby listening to people’s complaints. Complaints are a way to identify wants or needs. When an entrepreneur hears someone say, “Wouldn’t it be great if. . .” her or his mind starts whirling with ideas about how to fulfill that person’s desire. This week, both you and your partner should carry a small notebook with you. When you hear someone complain or when you see a problem that needs solving, decide what product or service could help. Then, jot down your idea. (And of course, if you get a sudden inspiration for a cool business, write that down, too!) Your object is to gather five to 10 ideas (opportunities) for businesses.
WEEK 3: Last week, you and your partner brainstormed a list of complaints and problems that could be solved by a business product or service. This week, you will pool your lists and carefully evaluate every idea. Create a graphic organizer that lists each potential business down the left-hand side. Across the top, write the following headings:Product/Service; Want/Need; Demand; Risks; Benefits; Competitors; Competitive Edge. Then, for each idea, describe the product or service it will offer; the want or need the product/service will fulfill; why you think there is a demand for the product/service; the risks of the business (i.e., what could go wrong); the benefits of the business (e.g., hours,low overhead, profit, etc.); who your competitors would be; and why your product or service would be superior to your competitors’. Finally, decide which business has the best chance of succeeding in your community.
WEEK 4: This week, you and your partner will develop a professional presentation that explains your business idea to peers. (If you know and have access to PowerPoint, use it. If not, paste your copy onto poster boards and present it manually.) Your presentation must answer all the questions that you asked your local entrepreneur. Here they are again: 1.) What is your business idea? 2.) How did you come up with that idea? 3.) What opportunity does it address?4.) Define your product or service. 5.) Who is your major market? 6.) Who are your major competitors and what is your competitive edge? 7.) Where will your business be located? Why did you select that location? 8.) Where will you get the money to start your business? After all pairs have presented, discuss the following questions: Of the businesses proposed, which has the best chance of succeeding? How long do you think it would take for that business to become profitable? If the business were to fail, what would the consequences be? How do you think entrepreneurs handle failure? How do successful entrepreneurs benefit their communities?