Emerging Entrepreneurs Program

High School Business Markets spring up again

It’s Spring and the market is ripe with business ideas.

Across the Saint John region, hundreds of students are getting ready to show off their business ideas developed as part of Enterprise Saint John’s, Emerging Entrepreneurs Program. Michele Lodge is the program coordinator and works with teachers and students to implement the program into class curriculums.

“This is a terrific opportunity for students to learn how to interact with customers and to succeed or fail based on the amount of effort they have put into creating their business,” says Michele Lodge.

Twice a year, students between the ages of 16 and 18 get the chance to develop a business idea, a business plan and marketing strategy so they can try to sell their product or service to their peers for one day at school at campus markets. It’s meant to give students hands-on experience with entrepreneurship.

St. Malachy’s high school students Matt Beers and Brandon Rogers came up Shoe-Saver. It’s an all-natural shoe cleaner they plan to sell to fellow students at their campus market, May 11th.

“I like the idea of having to come up with everything ourselves, it makes you feel like a real entrepreneur. None of this would be happening if it wasn’t for the help of Michele who helped set everything up and encourages us to think big,” says Brandon Rogers.

“One of the things that was eye opening was that working on this business makes us want to go to class.  We’re not doing the work for a class, we’re doing it for ourselves,” added Matt Beers.

200 students from the high schools around the region including St. Malachy’s Harbourview, Saint John and Simonds high schools taking part in the campus markets. The first set of markets were held in December 2016.

Ries Van Beek, is a teacher at St. Malachy’s high school, who had a different group of his students go through the program in the fall. This spring, 65 of his students will be in the campus markets.

He says he’s always inspired by the innovative ideas that students imagine and then create into business concepts.

“Michele and Enterprise Saint John are instrumental in giving the kids a boost in confidence. The support and mentorship they get makes the kids feel like there is no limit for their ideas,” says Van Beek.

Mercedez Ryan is one of those students. Ryan and her partner, Haley Savard, are working on a business that focuses on body positivity. Ryan says she’s already learned what many new entrepreneurs discover when they venture into creating their own business.

“I would say the most eye-opening thing in this class is how fast a business can go downhill, and how much money and time it can take to get your finished product,” says Ryan.

But, that isn’t enough to turn these students off the idea of entrepreneurship. All of them say they are seriously contemplating starting their own businesses, one day. Perhaps, the very business ideas they came up with in this class.

Originally published in the Saint John Telegraph Journal, April 9, 2017