Middle Park students learn what it’s like to run a business through new entrepreneurship club
March 1, 2018
Middle Park High School has a new extracurricular organization, the Entrepreneurship Club, and it's kicking off its first year with a new coffee business venture and a fundraising campaign for a fellow student.
In early January, junior Tristan Schwab approached Middle Park science teacher Zach Boor about utilizing space in his classroom to hold meetings for a potential entrepreneurship club. After getting the go-ahead from Boor, Schwab helped gather a group of interested students to form the club and began holding weekly meetings, which started earlier this year.
The club hopes to teach students about entrepreneurship and business, including finer points such as business plans and marketing strategies, in the modern world of technology and e-commerce. Unlike other programs that often focus more on academic concepts and theoretical businesses the Entrepreneurship Club hopes to help local students establish small businesses of their own as a sort of real world classroom wherein budding entrepreneurs learn by doing.
"In FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) you write out long term business plans," Schwab said. "But you don't actually execute them. You don't go through the costs of running a business."
Schwab noted that many young students consider studying business in college, or consider starting their own businesses, but have little real world grounding in what that entails. The Entrepreneurship Club hopes to allow students to dip their proverbial toes into the real world of business to see if it is something they wish to pursue further.
"We are putting them (students) in a real setting where it is safe to make mistakes," Schwab said. "It is an effective way to learn."
To accomplish their goals, the club plans to provide basic start-up funding to local students who plan to establish small-scale businesses in a method somewhat similar to small business incubator. The exact details are still being worked out, but the club would have students with start-up ideas present their business plans to a panel of judges in an interactive fashion. The judges would then vote where to allocate club funds.
To meet funding needs for the club's programs, members have started a new coffee shop at Middle Park High, serving drip coffee, espresso, chai lattes and hot chocolate for students and staff.
Granby's Lion Head Coffee and Fraser's Rocky Mountain Roastery are sponsoring the club's efforts and are helping provide the essentials necessary to operate a coffee shop.
"We hope the process of running a business in this start-up friendly environment will give the kids something to cut their teeth on," said Lucas Harville, owner of Lion Head Coffee. "I hope they will consider owning a business, as either a sideline or primary income source, in the very near future."
Alongside their other efforts this year, the club is also in the midst of a fundraising drive for Middle Park student Nick Rhone, who was diagnosed with a form leukemia this year. For the rest of this week and next week, the Entrepreneurship Club will donate all proceeds from their high school coffee shop, as well as any donations received, to the Rhone family to help with Nick's ongoing treatment.