Roy Wilson Grade 9s host Young Entrepreneur Program Market

March 15 was a busy night at Medicine Hat High School. Grade 9 students from Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre held their Young Entrepreneur Program Market in the main hall with community members coming out in large numbers to see what was on sale.

Lead teacher Michael McOuat explained the market ran from 2015 to 2018 and there has been a break since.

“Every Grade 9 participates. In December, when we get started, we start talking about ideas and what it means to be an entrepreneur.”

In January, local businesspeople, along with school administrators, came into the school to be on the panel of a Dragon’s Den-style format.

“The kids had to go and pitch their ideas. It was very stressful and very exciting,” said McOuat.

The students never touch money until the end. The teachers buy the materials and McOuat said he’d been to Walmart and Superstore more times than he can count. Students are responsible for the receipts and keeping track of expenses.

Back in 2015, McOuat received a grant from the Education Foundation and started an account. Students must pay 5% interest on the loans they take out for materials and other expenses. They are also required to pay 5% to a charity, this year it is the Root Cellar.

“All entrepreneurs give back to the community and we wanted to teach them that is what it means to be an entrepreneur as well.”

Some students were also donating all profits they made to a charity of their choice.

After everything is balanced, the remaining profits are the students to keep.

“I’m really proud of them right now. I’m really excited and I know they are anxious, excited and everything between,” said McOuat. “I know they’ve worked really hard for this.”

Boxes with tickets were wrapped up at the end of the night and students counted their tickets the following day with a teacher present. Students who didn’t sell all their product at the market had a chance to clear out stock the following day.

Yuuki Deguia and Jake Bodutha teamed up for their project, creating children’s perfume using essential oils of lemon, lavender and vanilla. They separated the product into different levels of strength: mild, medium and strong.

“We have a bit less of the lighter ones because those ones are selling out,” said Bodutha. “It’s a unique one, most people are doing food. Because of that, we’ve had people come over and buy some because it’s so different.”

Deguia explained, “We are selling it to a younger audience because some are more scent sensitive. We decided to try and make our project less strong for that reason.”

Reid Liboiron’s table was busy with his variety of coloured rings. He got the idea from online research and discovered he could buy a mould and create rings by mixing epoxy resin with coloured mica powder.

“It’s a highly durable plastic. It comes in liquid form, you pour it in the mould, mix in the mica powder and let them dry for around 24 hours. Then you have to sand them. Then you slam your head after realizing it took 72 hours to make one batch.”

Each batch made about 24 rings, but Liboiron said there was always about eight with bubbles, making the surface sharp, and he had to throw those out. Overall, he managed to produce about 100 rings to bring to the market.

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News