No matter where you look, students are encouraged to create and follow their ideas at ISD! For the last three years, the end of the year signals the time when students put on their entrepreneur hats at ISD. This year, grades 7 and 9 are exploring ways to create business models with goal of pitching them to potential ‘investors’. Entrepreneurship isn’t only at the senior school; ISD also has budding entrepreneurs at the elementary school. One grade 4 student, Rose, is the founder of Rosa’s Salsa.
Rose began Rosa’s Salsa in early 2018, while an ISD grade 3 student. Rose found herself in a predicament: she was interested in owning a computer, and had been selling small things like bracelets and slime to classmates and neighbours, but she was still coming up short. In addition to a computer, Rose wanted to have spending money for sports trips and outings with friends. She needed a good business idea.
Rose talked with her dad about different business ideas, focusing on those they had seen at the ISD International Market. She and her dad both remembered that a neighbour had sold a lot of salsa at the International Market before she moved away; this was a perfect area for Rose to focus on.
Since that time, Rose has sold her salsa at nearly every International Market. She has learned many things about business during that time. When she first started making salsa, Rose had hoped that her parents would buy the ingredients. They didn’t. She quickly learned that in order to make money, you have to spend money! She also learned the value of staff. Rose’s family does help during the production of the salsa, but she pays them for their time, as she would any employee.
There are challenges to owning a business that she hadn’t considered. For instance, finding the ingredients for salsa in Germany can sometimes be challenging and expensive!
Overall, Rose is very happy with her business and plans to continue it at least through the 2019-2020 school year. She isn’t sure she will have the time to make salsa when she begins senior school at the end of the next school year… time will tell!
Grade 9 students:
Beginning in 2016, grade 9 students have spent the last full week of school writing business plans, creating product samples, thinking through their marketing strategies and pitching ideas to expert investors. The project was initially started with the help of outside consultants, but is now managed through the direction of the ISD MYP team, including Laura Maly-Schmidt, Adrian Ireland, Amy Dugré, grade 9 teachers and a host of other ISD staff and community members.
This year, the students’ business ideas ranged from re-imagining the mobile phone, an environmentally-focused board game, recycled clothes, helping out those with limited mobility, and much more. Their ideas were pitched to ISD parents and friends who have business and product development expertise – these expert volunteers then mentored several student groups to further refine their business model.
The week concluded with presentations to a wide audience of fellow students, parents, faculty and staff as well as visiting students from Cecilien Gymnasium. This included a product fair for a chance for investors to get further information. Solteria, a sleek phone case that integrates the functions of a minimalist wallet with a high tech safe, received the strongest investment, as well as being named ‘most realistic product’.
Grade 7 students:
The grade 7 science and design students spent the final weeks of term using biomimicry to design unique products that solve a perceived problem. This work included research and design, brand creation and pitch practicing. In addition to creating an innovative product, students presented to potential ‘investors’ to convince them of the product’s financial viability. For those who are unfamiliar with biomimicry, it is a method for creating solutions to human challenges by emulating designs and ideas found in nature. It’s used everywhere: buildings, vehicles, and even everyday materials.
Their presentations garnered significant investments and ranged from TATZ (shoes that mimic the padding of cats and lions to reduce athlete injury) to Safe Glove (made with Ooblek-like fluid to prevent fingers from bending backward while playing sport) to Marina Skating (a downhill racing skateboard with features modelled after fast swimming fish).
The last few weeks of school can be challenging for students as focus diminishes. The entrepreneur programmes bring excitement, fun and focus as the students are eager to bring their ideas to life.