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Indiana students showcase classroom businesses at Purdue

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Elementary and middle school students across Indiana showcased businesses they developed through a Purdue University program that promotes entrepreneurship in the classroom.

The Classroom Business Enterprise showcase took place on April 12 in the Krannert Building's Krannert Drawing Room. The event featured businesses started by students and teachers from schools in Lafayette, as well as statewide.

The event served as a “market” where students displayed their products and business start-ups. Classrooms received funding, training and support from the Purdue Center for Economic Education, which coordinates the program and the annual showcase. The Indiana Council for Economic Education also provides support, helping to extend the program across Indiana.

“Students and teachers love this program because it is fun and it fosters real-world learning.  It was initially introduced to cover Indiana’s standards for economics,” said David Perkis, director of the Purdue Center for Economic Education, located in the Krannert School of Management. “However, teachers have used their business start-ups to provide instruction in data analysis, communications, leadership, and the STEM fields. A new teacher recently shared of his students who traditionally struggle with mathematics easily working with numeric decimals when focused on their business, even though they had not formally covered this topic in class. Such testimonials are not uncommon.”

After receiving training and ongoing support, teachers help students create a real-money, profitable business while incorporating economic principles and entrepreneurial skills into their curriculum. The ventures range from recycled products to handmade fashion accessories, and profits are rolled over into next year’s classroom or donated to charity. During the showcase, business experts from Purdue and local corporations offered constructive feedback.

“Research suggests that providing professional development to teachers and integrating authentic learning experiences are effective ways to help student better understand and apply economic thinking and financial decision making in their lives,” said Jeff Sanson, executive director of the Indiana Council for Economic Education in the Department of Agricultural Economics. “The decision making that students experience in the CBE program could be applied not only to future entrepreneurial endeavors, but also later in life as they weigh the job and career prospects of a given education path, or assess the cost of education and their ability to repay based on potential earnings.”

For more information or to get involved with the program, visit the Classroom Business Enterprise website. To support the program or become a sponsor, donate to the Purdue Center for Economic Education here, select “other” and specify your gift designation as “CBE 18.” The center is offering “black” and “gold” level sponsorships ranging from $500 to $2,000.