Students of the Alpha Beta Education Centres, in Accra have organised its maiden entrepreneurship Programme for pupils and students from the ages of nine to 18 years.
The students used the programme dubbed, “Student Market” under the school’s Adinkrahene Leadership Programme (ALP), to create and run their own business in a real market place competing with other businesses.
The ALP – Alpha Beta’s flagship leadership programme – provided a curriculum which integrated leadership and entrepreneurship with regular academic studies and other curriculum enrichment activities.
Launching the programme, Dr Naomi Adjepong, Director of Alpha Beta’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Department, said the school was committed to helping its students and pupils develop their entrepreneurial mindset and leadership skills needed to move the African continent forward.
She explained that “every student and pupil should aim to develop their entrepreneurial skills regardless of whether they intended to go into business or not as these skills would be useful regardless of the chosen career path in the future”.
Explaining the programme concept, Dr.Adjepong, told the Ghana News Agency that, the school presented the opportunity to its student body to apply to operate student businesses at the ‘Student Market’.
Interested students were required to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges.
Students who were able to clearly present viable and profitable ideas were selected for a four-week Business Incubator Programme and coached on various areas of business including business plans, business financing and marketing.
Following the competitive process, 23 start-up student businesses were selected to participate in the Student Market. Some participated in teams whilst others opted for sole proprietorship.
About 90 students and pupils ran businesses providing goods and services including photography, cinema activities, video games, African artifacts – jewelry, clothing, food and drinks.
“Many of our entrepreneurs have been on a quite a journey – some have changed the name of their business multiple times; others have changed their product or service after thinking more deeply about their business idea,” she explained.
Dr. Adjepong announced that the students would have an opportunity to present their accounts and business reports to a Business Assessment Board, as part of monitoring and evaluation to help them improve their businesses.
She explained that the assessment would help them to identify and address any lapses in their businesses to make them more viable in the next phase of the programme slated for July 4.
She also said a social enterprise concept would be integrated into the programme to help students learn how to impact the community around them, explaining that business was not just about making profit but also about impacting the society positively.
Whilst commending the students for their output, Mrs. Florence Adjepong, the Principal of the School, said: “These kids have exceeded our expectations. When we first came up with the idea and asked them to participate, some of them came up with very brilliant ideas and concepts of doing business.
“We helped them to develop and improve the ideas and get their business plans together, but I never thought they would embrace it and run with it the way they have done,” she said.
Mrs. Adjepong said the development was an indication that Ghana had future industrious entrepreneurs at Alpha Beta Education Centres.
Master George Tettey, a Form Two Student, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Yolo Cinema, one of the successful applicants, expressed his confidence in the programme.
“I know this programme would help me realise my business potential,” he said. “At least, I can grow this company through this programme and make it a part-time business”.
Maame Yaa Appiah, the CEO of Afriique, a producer of African Jewelry and Clothing, said the Student Market Programme was deepening her understanding of business set up and its operations.
Meanwhile, nine-year old Ohemaa Brago Akosua Appiah, who is the CEO of Beauty Spring Accessories, dealers in assorted jewelry, said the programme had helped her to shape her leadership skills.
“I am learning how to lead a team as the CEO of my company. I think this programme would help us grow into good future leaders,” the youngster said.