image source – thesuburbansoapbox.com
You don’t need to be Einstein to figure that Entrepreneurship has changed the world. Jobs, services, products… everything with quality has been created by entrepreneurship. On the contrary, the fact that governments and their officers are not entrepreneurs reflects directly on their performance. Name me five governments that have consistently done a splendid job that was expected from them?
My pitch is that Entrepreneurship is so crucial, it should be part of the school curriculum and exposed to students in their formative years.
If we can expect school kids to cram 10-12 subjects (many of which have no beneficial use in life), why not also expose them to Entrepreneurship?
To do so, I’ve come up with a plan. It’s called ‘Popcorn in the Classroom’.
Target Audience – School Students ranging from the 9th grade – 12th grade.
How this would work:
My easy-to-understand and highly relatable curriculum would introduce students to the building pillars of Entrepreneurship – Manufacturing, Trading and Retailing. In this specific case, I recommend implementing all three functions using – you guessed it – Popcorn!
I propose that each school/college carves out a class called the ‘Popcorn Class’ for its students. In the first term students would be initiated to manufacturing popcorn within the school itself.
This would comprise:
- Either growing small patches of corn or buying dried corn seeds from the market
- Cooking the seeds with the right ingredients and manufacturing popcorn in the school premises.
- Understanding the nuances of the process – the cost of buying the seeds; the cost of employing school staff to make the popcorn and the cost of all the raw material that is invested in making the final product.
- Measuring input, output, costs, losses broad concepts of quality control and assurance!
At the end of this semester, students would be well acquainted with what it takes and costs to make a fixed batch of popcorn. This would be the biggest takeaway.
After having a popcorn party (consuming all the popcorn made) in the first semester, I would repeat the exercise in the second term, but with a variation.
This time, as batches of popcorn are made, I would expect the students to go to neighboring schools with samples and trial packs of their popcorn and try to convince the Principal/Staff at those schools to purchase their popcorn.
This term would cover:
- Understanding sampling; pitching and pricing of products with margins
- Learning the slow, painful process of sales
- Being able to negotiate prices based on volume and cost of delivery and fulfillment
- Becoming aware of logistics and fulfillment
At the end of this semester, students would now have understood what it takes to not just make popcorn, but also sell it along with the opportunities, pitfalls and learnings that come along!
The last semester would expect the students to produce another batch of popcorn but this time sell it individually to the junior students, teachers and parents visiting the school
The “retail” lesson would teach kids:
- The understanding of SKUs and how margins can be handsomely generated by selling very less for more.
- The ability to create differentiation in a mass commodity like product – by flavoring the popcorn in four to six flavors, the students would understand value addition and consumer preferences.
- The finale would be a ‘Popcorn Fest’ in the school itself – where parents, teachers and students from other schools would be invited to visit and sample the delicious popcorn made by our school. This would train students to understand marketing, messaging, positioning and promotion!
I would welcome or rather expect a website and mobile app dedicated to the Popcorn Fest!
At the end of the final semester, students would have learnt the concepts of manufacturing, trading and most importantly retailing very early in their lives.
I chose Popcorn because we will eat it for the rest of our lives. And at each crunch, these kids (who will fast become adults) will remember their very first lessons in entrepreneurship and value creation! Who knows, this may inspire Entrepreneurship like never before!
Before I sign off, which flavor of Popcorn can I get for you?