Deanburn Primary School recently opened its doors to scores of local shoppers.
For one afternoon, the school hall was transformed into a shopping mall of small businesses, all vying with one another to attract customers.
With slick advertising and ingenious marketing techniques clearly in evidence at this social enterprise event, the goal of which was to enable pupils to learn the fundamental concepts of business in the mini-environment of their school.
From a micro loan of just £1, the children were challenged to come up with business solutions and ideas for enterprises likely to generate maximum returns on their investment.
The pupils responded with an array of marketing strategies, sales techniques and micro businesses that scaled the limits of their creativity.
Some children invested in raw materials and produced home-baking items, others in beads and threads to create eye-catching necklaces and bangles. Others ploughed their money into personal services such as nail-polishing and face painting. Arcade games, including hooking plastic ducks and firing at targets, proved very popular with younger children.
Tea and coffee stalls attracted more grown-up visitors. The longest queues were, understandaby, at the candy floss and chocolate fountain stalls.
By the end of the day, over £1400 had been raised by means of this “Micro Tyco” event.
The aim of the enterprise was not, however, to create a micro-culture of young capitalists. Rather, it was intended to nurture the skills and qualities of entrepreneurship, while creating opportunities for others less fortunate than themselves.
All the money created was donated to the Wildcats organisation to invest in micro loans to help the world’s poorest people. In this way, pupils at the school learn about global responsibility and their place in a global community.
Erin Stevenson from Primary 7 said: “I enjoyed learning how to make £1 just grow. You put effort into it to see other people change and hopefully make the world equal.”
Deanburn Primary prides itself on its enterprising and creative approach to learning and teaching. This event was only the latest of a whole series of enterprises aimed at expanding the learning experience through a wide variety of contexts. Other events have included a successful Farmer’s Market and a stall selling Fairtrade items (manned by pupils from the school’s eco committee).
Josh Whatley of Primary 7 summed up the experience: “I think Micro Tyco helps me to build my confidence. It helped me speak up in front of people. It is readying me for when I grow up and get involved in business.”