The Beginnings of Social Enterprise

For terms two and three College (Certificate IV Design) students will be working toward developing a concept for a business that addresses a social or environmental issue.

To launch the unit we needed an experience of how a business operates. While many students have had a good lead-up to this through the ‘tea businesses’ last year in Middle School with Johanna, we were looking to develop our own ideas as a way to encourage entrepreneurial skills.

“In the new global economy, the jobs that exist now might not exist by the time today’s students enter the workplace. To succeed in this ever-changing world, students need to be able to think like entrepreneurs: resourceful, flexible, creative, and global.” – Yong Zhao (Author of ‘World Class Learners’).

We jumped on the opportunity that arose with the “Open Day/Mothers Day” event. Working within a 3-week time frame to make, refine, market and sell the products we had to be resourceful. We began by sourcing raw materials that we had at school already. Johanna kindly offered us the tea that was made last year during the tea project, and other materials such as fabric, bees wax and wood was sourced. Production started immediately as students leapt into discovering what these materials could do!


As we discovered our need for more specific resources, students optimised their time by turning their attention to marketing material. Using their creativity to design a logo, make gift tags, signs and posters for the ‘shop’ was crucial in imparting information about how the money from our profits was going to be used.

Students were led through a product development cycle by experts. With Willow Artist, Maggie Johns, showing students how to create a ornament from willow;

Lesley, our outdoor educator, gave instruction on using wood-burning tools and provided beautiful wood off-cuts;

… and Liz showed students how to develop a product through naturally dyed scarves.

Students went through a stage of refining their product using their flexibility when things weren’t working out as well as they’d like, to arrive at something that could be sold and taken to market.

 

  
Students gave up time on their Saturday to tend to the stall and were rewarded for their hard work with some nice sales. They raised substantial funds for the *Panchktal orphanage in Nepal, and the idea of creating their own future is now emerging.

The question now remains ‘where to from here?’. With the beginnings of thinking globally, students are now devising ways to continue the growth of this and their own enterprise and how to expand into different markets.


* More about our connection with the Panchktal Orphanage can be found here; http://www.boldpark.com/history-international-mud-day/

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