For the next three weeks, third form students at the Girls’ High School will sharpen their entrepreneurial skills, as they participate in the school’s newest initiative to foster a love for business among its students.
Its the Business Department’s Shafia London Business Challenge which was officially launched on Tuesday, May 3 at Frenches House.
The challenge is being sponsored by GHS past student and businesswoman, Shafia London-Williams and will engage 17 teams, who have been paired with 17 mentors, to create and run a small business with a start-up capital of $250 each.
“They will be provided with start-up capital, which should be repaid at the end of the challenge. This is so that future business studies students will be able to benefit from this initiative. The students will also receive 60 per cent of any profits they make and the other 40 per cent will go to the school,” the third form Business teacher. Sue-Ann Gordon,said on Tuesday, as she presented an overview of the project.
According to Gordon, students are expected to collaborate closely with mentors, most of whom run their own successful local businesses, to execute their business plans effectively and tackle the challenges that they will face throughout the duration of the challenge.
The Shafia London Business Challenge runs until May 23. Winners will be announced on June 1.
Students will be assessed on several aspects, including an executive summary, marketing plan and customer service outcomes.
“This challenge also gives students a chance to build networks not only among themselves but with people who may become future customers to their businesses, as some have already expressed interest in continuing their businesses, even after the challenge has ended,” the third form Business teacher said.
Deputy headmistress of the Girls’ High School, Athalie Caine-Soleyn noted that the school’s Business Department is the youngest and smallest department in the institution.
It has only four teachers, and is headed by LaToya DeRoche-John, whose enthusiasm for the school’s latest initiative was described by the deputy headmistress as being “contagious”.
“Not long after, Mrs London-Williams visited the school to present her significant donation, to launch the challenge and to speak with the third formers. I believe I can safely say she left them inspired. I recall quite vividly, one brave third former, asking Mrs London-Williams, ‘what is your net worth?’ And Mrs London-Williams graciously, but confidently replied, ‘I’m comfortable’,” Caine-Soleyn said in her remarks at Tuesday’s launch.
“This is my wish for you ladies; that at the end of this challenge, you can confidently, and graciously say, I am comfortable that I did my best with my business initiative, I am comfortable that I was innovative and creative, I am comfortable with the profits that I made”.
The deputy headmistress thanked mentors for being a part of the Business Challenge and she expressed well wishes to all 17 teams.
“May the best team win, but may all teams learn lifelong lessons and grow from this opportunity,” she said.
Senior education officer for secondary schools Kay Martin-Jack,was also present at this week’s launch.
The education official endorsed the Shafia London Business Challenge on behalf of the Ministry of Education, adding that it was “quite a welcome initiative and can be the foundation for greater things to come”.
“For us to become a successful nation, we need more entrepreneurs. It is because of entrepreneurism in developing countries both in formal and informal sectors that there is endless job creation, increased production, resulting in greater supply and reduced prices for products as well as what appears to be an ever rising standard of living and social services that benefits citizens,” Martin-Jack said.