These are future CEOs.
Don't mistake that statement for positive thinking. These kids are learning skills in their everyday lives that an MBA seeks to learn through teaching. Their life situations, often requiring a survival mentality, are preparing them with some amazing skills. And, these boys are talented!
7 boys competed in the KidPreneur competition at St. Phillips recently, each spending the previous semester creating business plans, learning about social businesses, marketing, profit and loss, and how to run a company.
When I walked up to their tables, each boy extended his hand to me, looked me in the eyes, and said, "Hi, my name is _____. I am the CEO of XYZ company." Then, they proceeded to tell me what they are selling, who their ideal customer is, and why they plan to give 10% of their profits to a noble cause. Each was fantastic!
Most of these boys sold out of their items. And, this was not without conflict. Dr. Flowers of St. Phillips school is known to walk around and engage the various entrepreneurs. When he engaged some of our boys, he tested their math skills. In one case, he underpaid and walked off. The boy who experienced this was hot and ready to go! After calming down (with some coaching from Sway Buckley), he approached Dr. Flowers, politely confronted him about the matter, and asked him to pay in full. Dr. Flowers was impressed with his calm approach and not only returned the money, but also gave him a tip!
In another situation, one of the boys recruited and delegated various responsibilities to his friends. In some cases, he agreed to pay them something for their work. In others, he used his persuasive spirit to get their help. Truly, if he wrote a book on delegating, I would read it!
At the end of the time, we gathered in a room to debrief. As each boy came up to meet with Sway and Otis Buckley, they presented how much they had made and what they had spent on the items. After paying back the investors, they calculated their profit, and then took 10% to give towards a cause (homelessness). It was fun to watch the boys go through the process!
To end it, I joked with the boys about paying me some taxes. After all, we had transported the boys to and from the event, helped them learn how to run a business, etc. I told them we needed 35%. They were adamant they would not pay any taxes.
We are very proud of these future CEOs.