MV School Mart on Wheels: A Business Created By and For Students

Sep 17, 2014 | Innovation, Lower School News, Uncategorized

mv-school-mart-on-wheels-finalLast spring, Ms. Rhett’s third grade class was looking to create a start-up business similar to the fifth grade’s Shark Tank – Break into Business venture. This year, committed to continuing the momentum of the charitable spirit they developed, the new fourth graders brainstormed ideas and created a proposal.
Knowing they had a captive customer base — students — they recognized an opportunity to create a business centered around school supplies. Challenged by space and funding constraints, their idea of a mobile school store developed. With guidance from both Mary Cantwell in the Center for Design Thinking and Mrs. Lisa King as financial and human resource advisor, the MV School Mart on Wheels was created.
After consulting with Head of Lower School, Ms. Shelley Clifford, followed by interviews with potential customers, the MV School Mart began to create a business plan and purchase inventory. Research indicated a need for notepads, cool pens, and little gadgets to accessorize their personal belongings, while Ms. Clifford encouraged the young entrepreneurs to steer clear of selling  “toys” and “food” items.
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 7:35 – 7:55 a.m. on the Founders Campus courtyard, fourth graders wheel their mart cart out and open up shop.
Lead job positions are in a 9-week rotation cycle. The corporate structure is set up as follows:

  • The Amazon Primes are in charge of the product flow and inventory, which is purchased through Amazon Prime, with free two-day shipping.
  • The Shift Managers are responsible for the work schedule and supervising the employees.
  • The CFO balances both Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable, with sole responsibility for apportioning 75% of sales toward a charity fund and the remaining 25% to replenish inventory.

After just two weeks in business, the MV School Mart has repaid Mount Vernon Presbyterian School its initial capital investment of $100.00, which was offered to cover inventory expense.
Customer feedback has been extremely positive. Ms. Clifford and teachers are very pleased with the students’ progress.
On Thursday, September 18 the MV School Mart will send its first donation of $100.00 to the Atlanta Mission in honor of Ms. Alix Rhett.
Normally, one would be hard-pressed to find a successful, profitable, student-managed business in the black after only just two weeks – but not at MVPS!

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