Primary students learn the art of team leadership & innovation

Meeting inspiring leaders, and listening to the revolutionary ideas that make them inspiring is an enjoyable side benefit to working at Halogen. Perhaps the only thing that trumps this, is when you get to watch one of these ideas evolve through a process of action and turn into something inspiring in its own right. 

This was certainly the case when I met Entrepreneur and author Creel Price about 5 years ago.  Creel’s first business was selling strawberries on his parent’s farm in country NSW when he was in primary school.  From these beginnings, Creel has harnessed his entrepreneurial bent to forge a spectacularly successful career as a social entrepreneur.

Creel understands the profound effect that these first steps had on his subsequent life and what he has come to learn about how you can use the power of business for good. Now, he is on a mission to help primary students harness their entrepreneurial spirit too helping to foster broader life skills such as confidence, resilience, creativity, innovation and financial literacy.

Magic happened when Creel introduced Halogen to the concept that became the $50 Challenge.  We were good at motivating students to take up leadership roles, but once they returned to school from one of our programs, there still wasn’t an easy way for them to channel that newfound energy into something that would result in tangible learning for young leaders and benefit for their communities. This was something Teachers had been asking us about for years.

Creel had established Club Kidpreneur, to house the tools for this mission and over the past 3 years we have partnered with them to refine and promote a truly excellent program.  As with all things in business, success has to be measurable for it to be called success.  Stories like this one from Forth Primary School in Tasmania are the true measure of its effect.

In Term 3 this year, this class of twenty-four year 6 students was tasked with building and launching their very own social enterprise. The challenge: they had to make $50 or more in revenue and donate all profit above this to a worthy cause of their choice.

Working in groups of 2 or 3, students used the materials provided in their ‘Business in a Backpack’ to get started and were guided and supported by the Club Kidpreneur Ready-Set-Go program which also aligns with the national curriculum.

Run during class time, the program was facilitated every Friday morning by a local businessman and member of the school association Daryl Connelly. Between Friday’s teacher Julie Wells followed up on what had been learned and ensured all students had completed all activities by the time My Connelly came in again.

With the foundations for their businesses created, it was time to bring their products to market and students organised their very own market day in the school hall where parents, grandparents, friends and members of the local community came together to purchase their wares.

The results were impressive with each making a profit on their $50 start up costs. Profits ranged from $3 to $187. Along with the products provided in their starter kits each student got creative and also sourced their own materials to create new products which would work to liven the offering at their stall and ultimately, help them reach their goals. These included things like chocolate truffles, wooden penholders, cupcakes and bookmarks. Ms. Wells kept track of the cost of extra materials and students knew they had to make the total cost back before they could make a profit. One group made a profit of just $3 because they had extra costs of $130 for chocolate-coated lollies that they had to pay back to the school.

With the businesses all being self-funded, the cost to the school was nothing, but the learning that was gained far exceeded the expectations of all involved. In total, the students made around $800 profit which they chose to donate back to their school so the money can be used for wooden lunch tables making school a better place for fellow students.

To commemorate the achievements of all involved, Ms. Wells is paying for a plaque to be set in the table reading ‘Kidpreneurs 2014’ so their grandkids can even come back and see what they have contributed in years to come.

"These kids will never forget this. This will stay with them for life...I found the program authentic, interesting and engaging for the students, and myself” said teacher Julie Wells.

One of the key things students said afterwards was that ‘you have to know how to work and communicate with your team.’

After they completed the program students went on to enter the CK $50 Challenge competition at the end of the term. Forth Primary was named the overall best school in Tasmania, with the Futurepreneur Award going to the owners of “Card Makers” and “Jabbie’s Gifts” being named Best Business in Tasmania.

The CK $50 Challenge will be on again in term 2, 3 and 4 of 2015, and we will be offering all primary schools around Australia who attend The National Young Leaders Day around the country the chance to participate and experience just what the students at Forth Primary have.

If you book your students to attend The National Young Leaders Day in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth next year, your school will have access to an exclusive offer: access to the first 10,000 ‘Business in a Backpacks’ with no registration fee and a complimentary 2 hour PD course. Remember, each business funds its own $50 of startup costs to pass on to Club Kidpreneur, so this program pays for itself. 

What the students at Forth Primary have demonstrated is an ability to work together in order to achieve a goal greater than they could achieve on their own. This type of team leadership is something we at Halogen are particularly passionate about and we look forward to giving NYLD attendees the chance to take their inspired students back to school and extend their learning in new and innovative ways.

Mike Martin is the Executive Director of the Halogen Foundation. Facinated by leaders for as long as he can remember, Mike's main interest lies in the many ways in which individuals use influence to shape the lives around them. 

Tweet @MikeAMartin or @halogenaus


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