(Part 6 of 6 of Five things to successfully teach kids’ entrepreneurship)

In parts 1-5 of 5 things to successfully teach kids’ entrepreneurship I presented the steps that we use with our More Than a Lemonade Stand™ Youth Entrepreneur Curriculum to teach entrepreneurship (check out our website if you missed them).  In this last post, we cover how we teach entrepreneurship and business using experiential learning activities.

“The best way to learn about running a business is to run a business!” Julie Ann Wood

The first business experiential learning activity is the Biz Ops Game™.

The Biz Ops Game teaches business operations in approximately 90 minutes. It provides a great introduction to how a business operates. The students run paper airplane businesses in teams of 4-5. The game not only teaches business operations but also teaches many additional skills such as: creativity, teamwork, design, business roles and responsibility, wholesale distribution, purchasing, financial record-keeping, sales, customer service, manufacturing and quality control.

The concept is based on small teams running paper airplane companies where they manufacture, test, and sell paper airplanes. The teams start out with a $200 loan from the bank, that they have to pay back with interest. As the activity is introduced and described, the teams come up with a name for their company and assign each person a role based on their individual strengths. They then proceed through the normal business process of running a business. They budget for raw materials, office supplies and loan payback.  Teams purchase the items to create and decorate their airplanes based on customer requirements. The sales person demonstrates the airplane and sells it to the customer by flying it on the duct tape runway. To keep things lively, the customer makes specific requests of the sales person who then must share with their team (such as “I would love to see a business card next time”). Each round takes approximately 10-15 minutes and up to 5 rounds can be played as time allows. At the end of the game, dollar sales, quantity sales and net profit are calculated to determine the winner.

Teaching business operations in this experiential learning activity brings the kids right into the everyday operations of running a business so they can learn in a safe environment.

The students learn what is necessary to keep a business running and make a profit. It gives them the base they need for developing their own ideas into a viable business. The game gives them a base for learning business concepts, their own strengths, and working in a team environment.

To see an overview of the Biz Ops Game™ in action: Click Here to View the Video. The Do It Yourself instructions for creating your own Biz Ops Game™ kit are in the More Than a Lemonade Stand book that can be purchased on Amazon. To learn more about how you can use the complete Biz Ops Game™ kit (ready to go) visit the Biz Ops Game™ on the E-seedling website.

The second real life business experiential learning is running a Team Lemonade stand. 

Depending on how many kids are in the program, this can be done as a single team lemonade stand or a multiple team lemonade stand competition. The kids run a real-life lemonade stand in which they raise funds for the scholarship fund (or other charity they choose). They do everything as a team to runa a real life lemonade business. They come up with a name, branding, marketing, products they are selling, and assign roles.

The activity starts out with getting the entire group to think about what makes a successful lemonade stand.  The Lemonaire video is a great intro video to get the kids excited about their lemonade business.  After watching the video, discuss the roles for running a successful business.  Since the kids have already learned the business basics and run the paper airplane companies in the Biz Ops Game™ they have a base for how to run the lemonade business. Then, if there are more than 20 kids divide them into 2 teams (we don’t let them pick their own teams) by lining up by their birth dates and count off 1-2-1-2, etc.

Once the kids are divided into teams they then come with a name and a theme for their lemonade stand. Once they agree on this, they start planning out what flavors they are going to sell and if they are going to include any activities, music, and any other things to make their business unique. They also need to come up with a price for their lemonade. Then the roles of the business are defined, they need marketing and sales, an accountant, operations and a project manager. Everyone on the team must help set up and clean up.

Then they create business cards and or coupons to distribute, posters (with their brand and the date and time) and retail pricing signs for their stand.  They also create a shopping list (they have a budget of $50) to include lemonade, cups and any other extras they need to make the stand successful. The teams usually create a portable carry-all (paper box lids work great for this) so they can deliver lemonade to the customers.

The lemonade stand is run for one hour and the proceeds go to a charity (we use the youth entrepreneur camp scholarship fund). This teaches them how they can make a difference in such a short amount of time since they usually raise at least $100 and sometimes up to $300 in that one hour (depending on how well they communicate that they are raising money for a cause). Once the stand is done and everyone helps clean up

These two real life activities are always the top two activities at our youth entrepreneur camp each year and it is amazing how much they learn by running a business. It builds their confidence so that once they have their own idea developed further, they know they can go out and get it started and running. The instructions for running the Lemonade Stand activity is included in the More Than a Lemonade Stand book available on Amazon and our website eseedling.com has a free PDF download for building, starting and running a lemonade stand when you click on Get Started Free on the home page.

The content in this post is adapted from the More Than a Lemonade™ youth entrepreneurship curriculum. Julie Ann Wood has been working with young entrepreneurs for more than 10 years and is the author of the More Than a Lemonade Stand™ book and is the creator of the Biz Ops Game™. To learn more about the curriculum, programs and how to work with Julie visit: www.eseedling.com .