There are so many benefits to teaching your students entrepreneurial skills. When students seek to find solutions to problems, they use critical thinking skills and creativity. They also go through the design thinking process where they have to prototype ideas, get feedback, learn about the market, and make tough decisions about how to proceed. This is as true for small student businesses like lemonade stands or cookie baking as it is a larger student ventures like app development or designing new products.
One way to get your students interested in the entrepreneurial process is to host a business fair. The Children’s Business Fair has been happening for many years and is a very popular event. It is completely student-led and features only products made by children. Each student gets a booth, sells their products, talks to customers, answers questions about what they’re selling, and tries to make a profit. A children’s business fair can incorporate just about any content area or learning skill you need to cover, so it definitely could be standards-based. Here are some ideas for easy ways to hold a business fair with your own students.
You can get information about how to hold an official children’s business fair using the link provided above. In this case, students will go through the entire entrepreneurial process. They would brainstorm ideas for new products or services, research the market, find out what it would cost to build their products or get their services off the ground, raise money to do so, prototype and built, and sell to customers.
Another way to hold a business fair is to get students to identify products that are interesting or that solve a problem in a unique way. Students can put on demonstrations of these products at the business fair. Instead of creating their own products or services, students can explain to people why this particular product is a great idea and even suggest ways that it could be improved. If you go this route, you could have students write to companies to offer suggestions for modifications and ask questions to get information to be shared at the business fair.
Have you ever done a living museum with students? This is where they dress up as a person in history and act as the exhibit in a museum. You can do a living museum where students act as entrepreneurs. They can research people who have created interesting products or developed new ideas and act out that process for your business fair.
Sometimes at science fairs you’ll see students who compare products for effectiveness. These demonstrations could be done for a business fair as well. Students could research different products within the same market and demonstrate them in front of audience. As the demonstration is happening, the students can explain to the audience why each product is at a certain price point, or what makes each product unique and/or successful in the same market.
How do you get your students engaged in the entrepreneurial process? We’d like to hear your ideas about business fairs in the comments below.