Features

Student entrepreneurs venture into business

by LAUREN KIM & STEPHANIE MUÑOZ

Through sour strip candies and customized T-shirts, two students were able to experience the reality of being an entrepreneur.

For their task, seniors Nenetzin Martinez and Kristian Ibarra promoted their innovative products to customers and gained extensive profit from it.

Students who wanted to experience entrepreneurship participated in a project assigned by Bret Barker, economics teacher.

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Photo by STEPHANIE MUÑOZ

Since this project requires an entire semester for completion, very few students participate.

“I began this as a way to give students real life experiences,” said Barker. “It gives kids satisfaction from making an income from being self-employed.”

The project consists of coming up with a business model, a business plan and a financial model.  Students were instructed to think of a creative product to market, sell it and keep track of finances.  The outcome of the project needed to include a profit of $50 with a tax payment of 10 percent.

“This project gives students a hands-on experience for the ‘real world’ and helps those who want to get into business in the future.  Students learn how to make money by working and going outside to advertise their products.  Even if students do not go into the business field, the project teaches individuals about responsibility and communicating to people,” said Barker.

For her business, Nenetzin Martinez sold her Sour Goods, sour strips, at parks and to her friends and family members.  During those six weeks of marketing, she faced stressful challenges.  In certain weeks, Martinez sold out in a day, but there were also times where she struggled to sell a single candy.  However, even after multiple debates on whether to continue with the project, she persevered and worked hard.

“I constantly stressed about how much profit I was making, if my costumers liked my product and balancing the time to buy and package my candies when I had homework to do.  I can’t imagine being able to do this as a career, so I give props to small business owners,” said Martinez.

After completing her Sour Goods production, Martinez donated her cooperate taxes to Dollars for Scholars.

“I donated to Dollars for Scholars because I liked the concept of students coming together and donating to scholarships that can benefit others. I actually donated more than I was supposed to because I think it is really important for everyone to have an opportunity to attend college and not feel overwhelmed with the expensive costs,” said Martinez.

Along with Martinez, Kristian Ibarra also started his own enterprise, Garbage. For his economics project, he decided to customize T-shirts.

“I chose the name Garbage because I saw it in the movie Hackers (1995) and it really stood out to me,” said Ibarra.

Ever since he was a sophomore, Ibarra’s special hobby was screen printing on clothing.

Through Barker’s project, Ibarra was able to turn his hobby into a business.  Due to people always asking about his clothes, he felt that attracting customers was not too difficult.

Instead, Ibarra was able to gain knowledge and new experiences through self-employment.

“I felt like I know how to run a good business after this project.  I learned how to manage money and make more profit out of it,” he said. The students received extra credit and were exempt from taking their semester final exam. “I am happy I got this experience because it helped me respect and admire all the hardworking small business owners in the real world,” said Martinez.

While applying the concepts they learned in economics class, teen entrepreneurs Ibarra and Martinez were able to successfully manage a sweet and fashionable business.

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