Middle Schools Ignite Entrepreneurial Spirit with Vendor Day Marketplace

Public middle schools are pioneering Vendor Day Marketplaces as part of a community partnership aimed at boosting education in entrepreneurship.

Students in Business Studies classes at Dellwood Middle School, Whitney Institute Middle School, and Sandys Secondary Middle School showcase their entrepreneurial skills during “Vendor Day”.

These events are a highlight of the Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit, where students in Middle 1, aged 11 to 12, learn foundational business concepts and create their own business plans. The Vendor Day Marketplace allows these young entrepreneurs to man their ‘pop-up’ stalls, conduct real cash transactions, and retain their net profits.

Vendor Days feature a lively mix of fellow students, school staff, supportive parents, community members, and even other entrepreneurs. Products available range from handmade jewelry, scented candles, and homemade hair care products to home-baked snacks, healthy drinks, and scrumptious ice cream floats.

Teacher and Student Insights

Ms. Stacey Daniels, Business Studies teacher at Dellwood Middle School, shared, “Students love participating in Vendor Day. This event allows them to learn about entrepreneurship and apply their knowledge by creating their own businesses. Parents play a significant role by investing in their child’s business and assisting with setup and sales. At the end of the unit, students determine if their business made a profit or a loss. Vendor Day is an awesome real-world experience!”

Ms. Andrea Dill, Business Studies teacher at Whitney Institute Middle School, added,

“Vendor Day is crucial for students as it gives them a real-world understanding of the concepts learned during the semester. Students gain an appreciation for calculating costs and determining profit or loss. They were thrilled to see the monetary rewards of their hard work. Entrepreneurial parents even commented on the authenticity of the experience and some volunteered to help next semester!”

Mr. Chris Naylor, Deputy Principal at Sandys Secondary Middle School, noted the enthusiasm with which the event was met. “The clear demonstration of marketable skills and good planning made it a resounding success,” he said.

Community and Organizational Support

The Department of Education recently partnered with the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative (YEI) in middle school Business Studies classes. Joe Mahoney, Executive Director of YEI, emphasized the importance of real-world experiences in teaching entrepreneurship. “Seeing young entrepreneurs interact with their customers is energizing. The looks on students’ faces when they realize they made a profit is something to behold,” he said.

Thanks to a grant from HSBC Group and HSBC Bank Bermuda, YEI is enhancing enterprise education within government schools. Tanya Bule, HSBC Bermuda’s Head of Wealth Personal Banking added, “We are proud to provide support to the YEI and continue to be impressed by the enthusiasm and drive of Bermuda’s young entrepreneurs.  Honing these important entrepreneurial skills required for their future success is a key part of HSBC’s community investment initiatives to empower the dreams of our local youth.”

Building on this experience, YEI also supports a Middle 2 (M2) Career Exploration module currently being piloted in Business Studies classes across the island. This module, aligned with international trends, exposes students to various career clusters while connecting them to entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. YEI hopes to extend this international framework of enterprise education currently in the middle schools, to Year 7 and Year 8 students in parish primary schools.

Ms. Nekesha Holdipp, Social Studies/Business Studies Education Officer, stated, “It is crucial for Bermuda’s young people to develop financial literacy and understand how the economy works. This exposure to entrepreneurial thinking is a step towards economic literacy. With current Middle 1 Business Studies students eager to showcase their businesses at the end of May, the positive impact of this partnership and the dedicated work of our colleagues is undeniable.”

Families associated with the schools are encouraged to come out and support these budding entrepreneurs. Vendor Days are held every term and upcoming dates are as follows:

Dellwood Middle School: Thursday, May 30, 9 – 11 am

Whitney Institute: Friday, May 31, 12 – 1 pm

Sandys Secondary Middle School, Thursday, June 13, 9 – 11 am

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