Business management, IDEA’s newest career and technical education (CTE) pathway, was created because so many IDEA scholars are already entrepreneurs.
“Once we saw how many students were already running their own businesses and developing products, we thought offering business management classes would be a great way to help them cultivate their own businesses and pursue other aspirations they may have,” said IDEA Director of CTE Andrea Zimmermann. “Whether or not they go into business later in life, we know that understanding the principles of business, marketing, and finance are important transferable skills in any career.”
Math teacher Tiffany Green, who has a business background and worked in finance before she became a teacher, is teaching the business management course. Green was impressed by the fledgling businesses that scholars had already launched on their own. “Some kids were selling their art, doing hair and selling hair-related products, designing clothing, making shea butter, and more,” she said.
IDEA is offering business management in partnership with Build, a nonprofit organization that uses entrepreneurship training to help teenagers in under-resourced communities succeed in school and in life. Because hands-on opportunities are limited by the pandemic, Build created the COVID-19 Virtual Design Challenge. The competition invites participants to answer the question: How might we help people thrive mentally and physically in the midst of COVID-19? Students choose among hypothetical clients and develop a pitch for a product or service that would help the client deal with the challenges presented by life during a pandemic. This process will prepare students for what they will do later when they develop their own product or service.
Currently 40 scholars in 10th through 12th grade are enrolled in business management at IDEA. Under IDEA’s new CTE program of study framework, IDEA scholars will begin the CTE pathway of their choice in 10th grade and take two more classes and an internship to complete the sequence by the time they graduate.