PowerPlay: Youth Entrepreneurship

The video above features interviews with students and teachers who participated in Power Play in Sun West.

Recently an exciting new program was introduced to Sun West schools. The program is called “PowerPlay: Young Entrepreneurs” and it gives students the opportunity to build their own businesses, develop their own products and sell them to their fellow students, their parent/caregivers and the general public.

PowerPlay is a national organization that was founded in British Columbia in 1999. Its purpose is to provide authentic learning experiences for young people that will allow them to try out new skills in meaningful, real-world contexts. The national organization provides participating schools with resource materials and videos to help teachers implement the program in their classrooms. Key elements of the program are supporting students develop their own businesses. Students will develop business plans, conduct market research, carry out marketing and branding and launch products of their own creation at PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs Fairs where they sell their products.

Click here to learn more about PowerPlay.

In its first year in Sun West, Elizabeth Middle School in Kindersley, Cherry Grove Colony School, Harris-Tessier Central School, Smiley Colony School, Elrose Composite School, Eaton School, Walter Aseltine School in Rosetown and D’Arcy School all participated in PowerPlay and more schools have joined since then including Outlook High, Davidson and Kenaston Schools. These schools held PowerPlay Fairs throughout the year and each was an overwhelming success. Students sold out of their many and diverse products and developed skills that will help them throughout their lives.

Katie Hall, the Principal of Harris-Tessier Central School, observed that the program proved highly motivational to the students: “I would say they did more work at home as opposed to at school. Which was great for parent engagement within our school.” Similarly, Teagan Belitski-Reyes, Vice-Principal at Elizabeth Middle School said: “With this project they took it home and they actually did it all at home, which was really unique to see that they were so excited about it that they worked on it in their free time.”

One of the reasons that PowerPlay is so motivational is the degree of ownership that it allows each student in their own business. Carol Venn, past Principal of D’Arcy School commented: “What I enjoyed the most was the look on my students’ faces when they were excited about what they were doing. When they were taking ownership of something that was all theirs.”

Another important element of PowerPlay is that the student businesses use real currency, and the students make money but at least 10% of their profits go to a charity of their choosing. In some cases, classes will vote, and all donations will go to one charity while other times the students each pick their own charity.

Sun West is encouraging all schools to participate in PowerPlay and is looking to expand the program to more grades.

Kirsten Elder, a teacher at Elizabeth Middle School, summed up her thoughts on PowerPlay saying: “I realized I have 21 little entrepreneurs in my class, and I realized just how talented they really are. They created products I never would have imagined; I am so proud of them.”

For more information about PowerPlay in Sun West contact Kirsten Elder at kirsten.elder@sunwestsd.ca