High school students earn credits building businesses
Students can make real money with real customers and get to keep their profits. One of the program’s most successful ventures — Cookie Boss, a company that puts corporate logos on cookies for clients like Bank of America — has made $30,000 in sales since launching five years ago.
“Students not only learn about business through a textbook but also have that real world experience developing their own business, launching it, and then running it while they’re in high school,” Shakur said.
Thomas said he considered BUILD as a natural supplement to the Business Pathways Dual Enrollment Program while developing the idea with Bunker Hill. “We invited BUILD to be a part of that partnership because they’ve been doing great work with our students.”
As rising juniors and seniors, students in the Business Pathways program also will have opportunities for internships, Shakur said. “We’re looking into adding corporate partners to be connected to the program so students have internships while in school or summer,” she said.
Thomas believes that a business education is an essential foundation to success, regardless of the career path students choose. “We feel that our students would benefit from a training program that teaches them how to have good work ethics and cultivates soft skills, like resume writing, interviewing, and business environment manners,” he said. “A lot of these skills are transferrable.”
“Skills like communication, creativity, problem solving —even grit and perseverance, those are basic fundamental skills to be successful not just in school, but in career and life,” Shakur said.
Robert Kraft, New England Patriots owner, is a big supporter of the Business Pathways Dual Enrollment Program. He provided the initial seed funding to launch the program, Shakur said.
Part of BUILD’s mission is to provide programming at lower-performing schools.
“We want to operate where the need is greatest,” Shakur said. “We want to go to schools where there are not as many opportunities and students need additional support and resources.”