Students across North Texas are getting a real life experience of what it’s like to run a business including the ups and downs of how to manage them.
The first seconds after class begins are about the only ones that resemble a traditional classroom. Students at Arlington’s Career and Technical Education Center spread out around the building to think and plan how to make money.
“We are called Hot Pops. We sell popcorn. We think it’s going to be better than everyone else's,” said Andy Nguyen, student.
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The students will get two days in school to open and run a business on campus. They have to plan what they will sell, what it will cost, how to market it, get loans, and any profit they make, the students get to keep.
“Us three were a group and they were a group and we both were going to sell hot chocolate,” said Kayla Coston, student. “We got together and thought about popcorn and we decided to come together as one and thought we can do it together.”
The students research what their peers might want to buy. They present their plans and are granted loans of up to $200 from a nonprofit group to help the kids fund their business and plan for success.
“They do research on their own as to what a gallon of milk costs, or two dozen plates or cups of whatever they need in bulk, but then I need one plate for my serving so what is the cost per unit,” said Kevin Knierim, teacher.
The students put up fliers around the school which market their business to other students. The fliers aren’t free either.
Everything comes with a cost, and if they’re lucky they can balance the numbers just right and walk away with a profit.
“It really helped me understand how business works and, one day, adapt this to my own business,” said Hung Vo. “I want to open my own company in aerospace engineering – so I want my own company that’s similar to Boeing or Airbus.”
Their teacher said once the students start to think in a business mindset they keep coming up with bigger plans to succeed.
The program is run through the nonprofit Youth Entrepreneurs. They put up the money for the loans and they’re operating this same program at several school districts across North Texas, including Fort Worth and Dallas ISDs.