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Enterprising Renwick School students get down to business

Students at a school in Marlborough have turned $20 into mini-businesses and learned valuable lessons along the way.

The year 7 and 8 students at Renwick School have been part of a pilot programme called "Like a Boss", where they were taught skills needed to succeed in business.

Students were encouraged to identify something they saw as a problem and make a product or service to help solve it.

At a market on Tuesday, marking the end of the eight week programme, beeswax sandwich "pockets", soap, pot plants and hair scrunchies were among products for sale.

Charlotte Flowerday, 11, said they had noticed a lot of plastic being used in school lunch boxes.

Some students had tried using beeswax wraps, but they weren't ideal for wrapping up sandwiches, she said.

So Charlotte and her team created "beeswax pockets"; wraps sowed together at the sides which were perfect for holding a sandwich.

"We had to learn to make deals, call up different businesses and ask to get their materials," Charlotte said.

"We had to learn to work together and do stuff after school hours."

They had to pay back their combined $80 startup "but I think we've made over $70 profit," Charlotte said.

Renwick School principal Simon Heath said the students had embraced the challenge with enthusiasm and "loved every minute of it".

"The concept of coming up with a problem-based business idea, doing a feasibility study to see if it's something that can fly, developing a business plan, marketing plan and a sales campaign and having only $20 to invest.

"It has been quite remarkable in terms of what the students have learned in that eight week time frame.

"From a teaching perspective, it's incredibly uplifting to see students so engaged in what is a very challenging piece of work."

Renwick School was part of a pilot for the Like a Boss programme in about 10 schools nationwide. It was pitched at year 9 and 10 students, but they were one of the only schools running it in a younger age group.

Students were given $20, but quickly learned that if they grouped together, they could pool their money.

"They've learned that money can make money, but you've got to keep very careful track of every cent," Heath said.

They had lessons around financial literacy, watching their cash flow, and what their profit was.

Following market day, the students had big decisions to make about what charity to put their money towards.

One of the enterprising class groups noticed students were getting to school late or right on the bell.

So Ellen Theobald and her team decided to start a Milo business.

"We've been making Milos to provide kids with the incentive to get to school on time, to be prepared and organised for school.

"It can also warm them up and as we're getting into the colder months now."

Last week, they were selling Milos before school, she said.

"The first couple of days we were easing into it and maybe had 20 kids, and on Friday we had 50 kids."

They sold their hot drinks for $1 each, served in cups borrowed from home and the staff room.

Another group made handmade soap.

Edward Potts, 12, said they reached out to a local business owner who made soap. She gave them some advice and directed them a website where they could order their ingredients, he said.

They added essential oils, colour and poured it into moulds. Then they made packaging, posters and sold it to their school peers.

They worked out it cost them 80 cents to make each soap, but they sold them for $3.

But that didn't include all the time and effort, Potts said.

Read Stuff article here.

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