Entrepreneurship Week

The theme of week three is Entrepreneurship! The fellows are exploring what an entrepreneur does and how to be one. This includes exploring what an entrepreneur’s duties are, meeting entrepreneurs from the community, and running their own businesses. As always, the students have been completing exercises and simulations to give them insight into entrepreneurship and whether they want to pursue it in their lives.

The week began with curriculum surrounding entrepreneurship and what the students already knew about it. They talked about the advantages and disadvantages of being an entrepreneur. The students agreed that advantages of being one is that they are allowed to decide their own destiny, they do not have to answer to a boss, and they learn to adapt with the changing market. Conversely, they agreed that disadvantages of pursuing entrepreneurship are that the economy can shift and leave those in it with nothing, it can sometimes be the only source of income that one receives, and it is a heavy responsibility for those in charge.

They also contrasted what it is like to be an employee versus an entrepreneur, their qualities, and the balance that their relationship must have. They reasoned that an employee must be patient and able to follow directions, while an entrepreneur must be a competent leader. They also said that an entrepreneur must be a problem solver as the market can change and they must choose the best course of action to keep their business and employees afloat.

Next the students began to analyze different ways that entrepreneurs accomplish some of their goals. This lesson came in the form of an exercise called “Where the hell is Matt?”  The exercise began with the students watching a video whose title is the namesake of the exercise. The video consists of a man, Matt Harding, deplorably dancing through various countries around the world, while other people join him. Subsequently, the students had to brainstorm the purpose of the video. The ideas ranged from it being a method to show the differences in cultures to it being an attempt to show the similarities between cultures. In the end, the point of the nebulous video was much simpler than any of the students had imagined. The video was an ad for Stride gum. The world trip that Harding received was paid for by the gum giant. The video serves as a testament that entrepreneurship has such fluidity and can be manipulated into whatever one wants as long as they approach it in the correct manner.

The day ended with the students simulating a month in the life of an entrepreneur. The game used to understand it was called Work out! and it consisted of five weeks, with each day having a specific purpose: Monday is Buy day, Tuesday is Make/Life day, Wednesday is Sell day, Thursday is Collect/Repay day, Friday is Plan day, Saturday is Spend day, and Sunday is Rest day. On Mondays, the ‘entrepreneurs’ had to go to Harry’s Wholesale to buy raw materials for their Make day. Then, on Wednesday,  they had to sell their ‘products’, which were drawings of things they wanted to sell, to Sally’s Store. On Saturday, the students had to buy at least one food item at Mike’s Supermarket. The point of this game was to show the students that business owners have to juggle a wealth of responsibilities for a risky livelihood.

The week ended with the students beginning their entrepreneurship project, which will run for three weeks. The students came up with ideas for businesses and learned the ins and outs of running them. The four businesses that were created are: Soakind, a soap company by Chris, Makiah, and Tarik, ExpressT, a t-shirt company by Meiyang, Mikel, and Jahmiel, #Flawed, another t-shirt company by Tiana, Scottie, and Lisa, and Balance Beads, a customizable bracelet company by Jade, Miki, Nate, and Mohamed.

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