Building a stronger economy one student at a time
The old notion that entrepreneurs are born and not made is being challenged in Puerto Rico. Spurred by ongoing economic uncertainty, the Enactus team at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao took a nontraditional and far-looking approach to developing the economy and leveraged their strong education system to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs. Believing that entrepreneurship can in fact be taught, or at least encouraged, the team worked to introduce business principles and entrepreneurship lessons into area schools.
The team created B-Seminars, multiple part lessons that focused on entrepreneurship, success skills, environmental responsibility and financial management. To provide real-world experience, the lessons also incorporated a $20 Challenge where students implement their business ideas with an initial investment of $20. The B-Seminar finale is an “Annual Bowl” where students present their business results to a panel of judges. Students are to give an oral presentation and are judged on their overall business plan, financial report, as well as their social, environmental and economic impact. With the curriculum set, the team then implemented the seminars in multiple area high schools.
Since its inception, the project has worked with educators in 37 schools and impacted more than 7,000 students. The effort inspired more than 70 micro-businesses that generated nearly $65,000 in revenue. Approximately 60 percent of these micro-businesses are expected to continue operations. Seeing the success and value of creating the next generation of entrepreneurs, the Puerto Rico Department of Education and the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association have now made the lessons a regular component of their curriculum.