Special to BAMSouth.com
The Christ Covenant School: CCS Shark Tank/Basic Economics elective this past school year in Ridgeland is an elective set up to help middle school students begin to think about business as a means to use their thinking, work and ideas to provide for their family while serving the needs of others in the process.
The class goal was to encourage students to think about how they may operate business profitably and as Christians.
For the first semester, the school offered an introduction to economic principles and framework thinking of business as Christians (see attached). The lessons for the class of 38 students included forming a team, coming up with a business idea, creating a business plan, pro forma and marketing plan and then to operate profitable businesses during second semester. At the end of first semester, student groups presented their ideas to a CCS Shark Tank panel and requested an investment into their businesses.
The panel was comprised of local business owners who heard the presentations, evaluated business plans, pro formas and marketing plans of student teams. Panel members were: Mr. Lee Atkins, of HomeCare Plus Medical, Mrs. Amanda Wootton of AW Court Reporting, Mr. Phil Wilson of Wilson & Wilson Irrigation, Mrs. Carol Matheny of Matheny Consulting, Mr. Joe Stradinger of EdgeTheory, and Mr. Jason Branning of Branning Wealth Management. The panel asked questions and offered advice to student teams before committing any resources to the ideas presented. The panel donated funds to this elective class and approximately $2,000 was awarded to 10 student teams.
During the second semester teams operated their businesses. The culmination of the year was the final accountability report teams made to the CCS Shark Panel where teams discussed their business execution and paid back the investment the Shark Panel made. The students were allowed to keep profit above original investments.
*The cost of goods – learning to manage expenses and time,
*Some products are not worth the effort given the price you can sell them for – this was particularly noted by the artisans (e.g. walking sticks – Jordan-Creek),
*Marketing and locating a place for product placement can be challenging,
*Learning to think ahead regarding seasonal business (Be the Best Sports, C&M Attractants, WWR Car Wash)–while all good ideas and some even had a demand for products (C&M)–the launch time schedules were not fully thought through.
*Regulation can be a business killer – The Crafty Southerner, in their business plan, assumed they would sell on Etsy; however the soon learned that you needed to be 18 to have a PayPal account.
*Business is hard,
*Insurance is necessary – TableGate suffered a catastrophic fire that destroyed all their inventory and equipment. They had a harder time getting going after the fire and did outsource some labor.
*Scraps Design (missions donation) and American Sweets (donating 10% to the VA) discussed the charitable giving component from their profits.
*Partnerships are motivating and can accomplish more than if alone when there is a sharing of work or when different partners perform specific tasks better than others. (Oh Sugar, TableGate, Step 3 Studies, The Land Leaf, American Sweets)
*Partnerships are a challenge. A few partnerships did very well while others did not work out (Jordan-Creek, Wisdom Within, Crafty Southerner). One young man came in alone, though at the beginning of the year there had been a partnership. When asked where his partner was, he charitably responded, “Well, he lost commitment.”
Other lessons students had the chance to learn this year were:
*Preparing for a presentation to the Shark Tank Panel and answering questions,
*Planning and executing on an idea;
*Applying basic economic principles to their ideas,
*Seeing God’s gift in work and business as an opportunity for serving others while making money.
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