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A school-based enterprise is a simulated or actual business/industry conducted by a school. It replicates a specific business or industry, and is a learning experience that provides direct links between students, their curriculum and the world of work.
RATIONALE FOR SCHOOL-BASED ENTERPRISE
Many schools do not have the business and industry base to provide sufficient opportunities for students to gain work-based experience. A school-based enterprise can be created to fill that void.
The School-based enterprise should be designed to lead a student to a productive career; and the school programs of study must have the course capacity to provide the learning needed by the student to become successfully employed. In a school-based enterprise, the student's vocational courses and academic courses integrate around the school-based enterprise.
Developing a school-based enterprise can be a creative challenge to a school, department, teachers, and students. Large scale endeavors will probably need the input and assistance from more than one person to be successful. A collaborative agreement, with local business/industry, or well organized advisory committees would be helpful. The school-based enterprise must be oriented and run by students. Teachers serve as advisors, but not chief executive officers.
Some school-based enterprises operate like regular small businesses, letting students apply the academic and vocational content they have learned in school. A School-based enterprise can also give students real practice in entrepreneurship, accounting, budgeting, cash-flow management, marketing, inventory control, and business/industry/technical skills. Students in school-based enterprises experience generic work skills in problem solving, communication, interpersonal relations, and learning how to learn in the context of work.
STEPS FOR PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION
- Assess community needs
- Characteristics of the community
- Related business opportunities
- Potential customers
- Possible products/services
- Define the product or service
- Student and teacher interest
- Possible ventures and their feasibility
- Decide and commit
- Build the Support of Key People
- Business/Industrial community
- Establish a Structure for the school-based enterprise
- Basic organization
- Training and education of students and teachers
- Facilities, equipment and supplies
- Develop a Written Business Plan
- Executive summary
- Description of the industry
- The market
- Plan of operation
- Financial plan
- Organizational structure
- Community benefits
- An education and training plan
- Implement production and services
- Equipment and supplies
- Workforce and their role
- Produce products or services
- Sales force and sales strategies
- Marketing the products
- Channel/methods to distribute the products or services
- Maintain budgets
- Maintain inventory
- Deliver products and/or services
- Design and implement curriculum activities
- Requiring integration of academic and vocational courses
- Encouraging all students to participate in school-based enterprise and related courses
- Involving counselors in the school-based enterprise and programming of students
- Deciding what students should know and be able to do
- Bringing business/industry experts in to advise on curriculum
- Incorporating cooperative learning and team work activities
- Teaching problem solving
Production Work Handbook
Handbook for Administering Production Work Activities in Secondary Vocational Educational Programs.