The business plan is the blueprint for developing any business - sound management the key to success / profitability. A student run enterprise is an effective learning tool for experiential education applications. However, how is the student-run business / tax exempt corporation to be utilized?

1- Applied simply as a learning tool for teaching basic concepts and simulating the transactional experience?

2- Or aim to be growing and profitable wholesale / retail company attempting to annually increase gross sales and net profits?

3- Is it possible to employ both applications – an essential learning vehicle and also a profitable, growing company?

The IBP boldly employed the ACTCo Business Plan as both - the instructor and students were challenged to provide sound management principles and acquire skills to annually grow the company. Each graduating class bequeathed a bigger and better company to the next group of enterprisers taking their place or entering the program. An international network of schools was annually expanded, then inherited by the next year’s students to export the program model to strategically targeted geographical areas and to schools with the ability to dream and act.

Business management experts were brought in to better focus program goals and pathways to business success.

Al Hurwitz / AHA Associates encouraged the IBP / ACTCo to think big and go where no global entrepreneurship program had ever gone before – build and manage a corporation operating globally – not just from the Caribbean as originally conceived. Furthermore, the company was being operated from a class room in a Atlanta high school with senior and junior level students entrusted with capital to invest with the purpose of earning profits.

Graph of 1993 – 94 expenditures:

The hand crafted Antiguan Leather Cases were obtained from a Jamaican crafts distributor – all units sold were bought by professors from Atlanta University.

ACTCo inventory at end of 1995 – 1996 school year:

Classroom are open by nature – storing goods in display cases created security concerns.

Caribbean Metal Art is made from artisans shaping and painting metal obtained from garbage cans. Jamaican Chris Kenmay, a former Canadian, and his late wife Vickie, from

Atlanta, attempted to mass produce the art form for selling to Wal-Mart, Michael’s and other large chains and needed to build stock up. The metal houses were very popular and therefore difficult to obtain. Vickie sadly passed from cancer and Chris later worked for Mercedes.

The IBP developed personal relationships with most of its artisans to build long term supplier relationships. ACTCo marketed the artisans to build brand names. Harmony Hall Gallery, managed by Annabella and Peter Proudlock of Ocho Rios, was the only supplier to last the full ten years.

There is a story behind every arts and crafts line(s). Professional gift ware distributors at the Gift Mart have told me that Caribbean artisans are challenged to provide consistent and timely product. ACTCo was challenged by that reality too – but more so by trying to acquire product with limited capital.

NationsBank bought Bank of America to obtain a national brand image. NationsBank / Bank of America was very supportive of the program / company and I often wondered why the bank did not

use the program for a television commercial.

The annual business / marketing plans were annually adjusted until the program and company found the right product mix to sustain growth and profitability. School supplies, arts and crafts giftware lines, school themed tee and sweat shirts, proved to be the formula for success in the North Atlanta school market.

Example of original display area in Warrior Warehouse. ACTco hung sheets on folding tables to highlight giftware lines.

Example of improved display capability thanks to Mr. Todd Weibusch’s donated ceramic crafts lines:

The ceramic figures solved two immediate needs: 1 – help fill empty shelves with attractive, high quality product; 2 - greatly improved display capability and enhanced the shopping experience.

A professional giftware distributor assessed store display of goods and advised the students to purchase window covers to limit sunlight’s effect of “washing the color out of goods from the eye view of the customers”. Given the investment that we had in those goods, a student exchange heading down to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad purchased 8 blue and vermillion batik window shades from Kristin Miller who was just starting out.

Each of the eight 5 foot by 7 foot panels cost the IBP - ACTCo $90 for a grand total of $720. Today they would be worth many thousands of dollars because Ms. Miller’s works now command high prices.

A recent NAHS school administration, needing an assistant principal’s office near the key back entrance, transformed the store into an office and removed and discarded the batik panels in order to let in more light.

My late father-in-law, Herman Auerbach, designed the shelving and gondola (central display case and transaction site). Herman submitted to the APS Carpenters, the plans, the desired materials, and a cost breakdown. His great grand daughter, Talula Cook Bolstad, was born June 10, 2013 and his grandson Sasha Heller was just named Managing Editor of the South Padre Island – Port Isbel, Texas weekly paper. I am sure that Herman is smiling down from heaven.

The APS Construction Department followed Herman’s plan / instructions perfectly and did not charge the program / company. The APS was fabulously supportive of the IBP, the student run enterprise, the student exchanges and the many other endeavors and I was very fortunate to have worked for a school system that truly believed in “making it happen if its good for the kids.”

IBP / ACTCo, needing capital for investment, seeks a credit line:

A widely believed “business truth” is “either grow or start dying”. And it is mostly true - ACTCo experienced decline when it stopped growing.

A fifth reason was that the IBP / ACTCo was on an expansion tear and also received surprising media attention. The media in every foreign city that the program expanded into covered the IBP with impressive print copy. We also were interviewed by many radio and TV stations.

IBP / ACTCo collaborate with the NAHS PTSA:

The State Farm Good Neighbor Award was a great honor and opened doors to other teachers of excellence awards such as the ACIE Teacher Exchange to Kazakhstan. State Farm brought all of the winners and their spouses to Washington for a wonderful weekend that featured a special tour of the National Geographic building and a gala dinner at the Smithsonian.

1997 ACTCo Board of Directors Newsletter:

I have lost most of the annual IBP class pictures – the Class of 1998 remains as one of the few –just trying to “put a face” on the 1998 balance statement.

Price list of goods the IBP purchased from the Riga Commercial School and amount that ACTCo marked them up.

A major annual challenge was training the students to maintain accounts accurately.

Achievers International is a global entrepreneurship program that was sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Their program, mostly located in the U. K., included a slightly larger school network than the IBP’s. Achievers essentially wanted to absorb us. Since the IBP already had a strong relationship with Gateshead College across the Tyne River from Newcastle, England, we did not have a need to be U.K. focused. The wooing ceased when openly contemplated about the IBP absorbing Achievers into our global network. Regardless, the North Atlanta IBP enjoyed two excellent joint projects with STAR International, a student run enterprise of Sandy Creek H. S. in Tyrone, GA and sponsored by Achievers International.

Buckhead Business Coalition President Sam Massell and the Atlanta Business Chronicle encouraged local business to support the program.

ACTCo peaked in April of 2001 with the hosting of Super-Exchange V. The zenith of diverse product lines was 1999 – 2000 when the company possessed over a hundred different products.

The IBP was designed to be globally transportable and applicable. The reality was that many national school systems, such as Japan, could never find room in the curriculum and testing schedules to accommodate IBP affiliation. As a Keizai Koho Scholar, I had the opportunity to visit Misuzogoaka High School in Hiroshima, Japan and sit down with the principal and administrators how we might include Misuzogoaka in the IBP.

Misuzogoaka was set in an affluent and western-looking neighborhood – the PTSA Chair was an international industrialist and loved the prospects of students engaged in business and participating in student exchanges.

The KKC Scholars observed a social studies classroom during which teacher-prompted questioning was reserved for the last five minutes of class instruction. Several hours of discussion spent trying to figure ways / means of program adoption proved fruitless – there was no room in Japanese education for inclusion of innovative programs. Ironically, Kweongbuk H. S. in Daegu, South Korea very enthusiastically adopted the IBP and engaged in several student exchanges with North Atlanta H. S. Perhaps there is some light of understanding why smaller Korea is industrially overtaking Japan which has nearly twice the population size.

A Part 3 of IBP Components and Program Evolution will follow, cover the years 2000 – 2004, and conclude the three part series.