By Olivia Laskin and Amy Kaplan
On Wednesday, April 5, the Collegiate Middle Schoolers embarked on an entrepreneurial journey. From 12:10-1:00 p.m., Cougar Enterprises hosting the Entrepreneur Market in the Reed-Gumenick Library.
According to the club description, Cougar Enterprises is an opportunity to “learn how to start your own business (what makes a good product, what materials do you need, how to raise starting money, how to market your product).”
Cougar Enterprises was started five years ago as a part of Collegiate’s mission to make Middle Schoolers more economically aware. The club has their marketplace each grading period, in which teachers and students can view and buy their classmates’ creations. Before entering the market, the students can withdraw or deposit money into the Golden Cougar Bank. Another facet of the club are their various speakers, such as local business owners, bankers, lawyers, and alumni. These lessons teach the club members about finance and the general economy, and the markets provide “a great opportunity to make your own money!”
The Entrepreneur Club is a great opportunity for kids to learn how to earn money, price goods, and figure out if business could be a career of interest. The club has even become one of the most popular in the Middle School. According to Middle School Spanish teacher Deborah Hailes, one of the sponsors of the club, “We started out the club with seven kids. Today, the club has grown to include about eighty.”
Middle Schoolers of all grades are enthusiastic about visiting the Entrepreneur Market and seeing the variety of products offered by their classmates. Taly L. (‘21) says, “it’s really fun to see what people come up with to show their creativity at the markets.” Alice M. (‘21) agrees, adding that, “it’s interesting to see everyone’s ideas for business in the future or what creative thing they have to sell.” Many members of the faculty agree. And while it’s the “craziest time in the library,” Middle School Librarian Mary Kendall White thinks the market is “lots of fun!”
While many of the products sold are baked goods, smoothies, and other sweets, some students sell other items, including tickets to homemade carnival games. They challenge their classmates to a game of ring toss or Price-is-Right-style “Plinko” for the chance to win candy. Another popular choice is “stuffies,” a small stuffed animal made out of fuzzy socks. A new nationwide fad has also made its way into the Entrepreneur Market: homemade slime.
Cougar Enterprises gives students a way to sell things that they are passionate about, as well as giving opportunities to learn life lessons such as selling to others, how to market, and how to get results based off of pricing. Hailes summed up Cougar Enterprises by stating, “You have to follow your dreams and passions… You will hit blocks, but you have to keep going.”
All photos by Olivia Laskin and Amy Kaplan.