FHS class gives young entrepreneurs a taste of reality

FHS class gives young entrepreneurs a taste of reality

Fairmont Business teacher Matt Hughes conducts his Small Business Class with pride.

Running a business is much harder than it seems. There are responsibilities of hiring employees, deciding what products to sell — and don’t forget about making sure the profits are coming in. Because of all these challenges, teenagers sometimes get the idea that working in certain jobs, or owning their own businesses, are impossible.

That, however, doesn’t have to be the case. Fairmont’s Small Business Management class gives students the real-life experiences needed to learn what it’s like to own their own business.

Basics of the class

The semester class gives students the chance to discuss and learn all the introductory material and basic knowledge about business. Topics included in the instruction are economics, business organization, entrepreneurship, ethics, sales, marketing and accounting. This type of “book learning” occurs during the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter of the class, students get the chance to design their own products and run their own businesses.

Fairmont Small Business Management class teacher Matt Hughes feels this class is a great learning experience for students. “We just did the business running this past fall, and it went really well. Every group that participated made a profit, which is great!” he said. “There were five businesses which created the products of cookies and flowers, cleaning for teachers, pumpkin rolls, wacky window stickers and hall passes.”

Learning experience, skills gained

When people are responsible for running their own business or working in any business field, they need certain skills to be successful. Hughes feels students interested in a business can gain the right skills in the class. “In the Small Business Management class, students can gain almost any skill, but most importantly, they learn math skills, communication skills, finance skills, business planning and teamwork,” he said.

After the students take the first quarter to learn all knowledge behind owning a business, they reflect and already have a good feeling about the rest of the class.

Junior Cody Antonelli, who took the class 1st semester of 2011, is happy with the decision he made to take the course. “This class really taught me how to work together with other people when a problem needs to be solved,” he said. “I also learned how to manage a business financially and, in general, how to keep track of everything and stay organized.”

Junior John Harris also believes he received a lot of business knowledge in the class. “I learned how to save money as well as earn it,” said Harris. “I’m so happy I took this class because now I’d love to own my own business one day, and this class really helped me learn the aspects of marketing.”

The students call the shots

After nine weeks of learning how a business is run, students get the chance to work with each other and create their own businesses. This gives the students hands-on experience in business and an opportunity to face the facts of having that kind of responsibility.

Antonelli feels that this project was the best part of the class. “My group created the cleaning business where we cleaned for Fairmont teachers, and I loved the experience,” said Antonelli. “I really enjoyed seeing what it’s like to own a business and be an adult, even. This is a great assignment because it shows students who are willing to risk starting their own business what it’s like to do so. This class teaches them what they need to know in order to be successful in a business or, in fact, any job.”

A job well done

After the semester’s hard work, the five student businesses received their total profit of $324. After conducting research, the students voted to give their profits to Lbrahima Layre, an entrepreneur in Senegal.

“Layre owns a taxi business and was in need of financial help,” said Hughes. “The money was given to him to repair his taxi so that he could operate his business, as well as provide for his family. I’m very proud of the students’ decision as well as all their hard work last semester, and I can’t wait to see what this semester’s student businesses bring to the table.”