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?
Applied simply as a learning tool for teaching basic concepts and
simulating the transactional experience?
Or aim to be growing and profitable wholesale / retail company attempting
to annually increase gross sales and net profits?
Is it possible to
employ both applications – an essential learning vehicle and also a profitable,
The IBP boldly employed the ACTCo BusinessPlan 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.
management experts were brought in to better focus program goals and pathways
to business success.
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
of 1993 – 94 expenditures:
hand crafted Antiguan Leather Cases were obtained from a Jamaican crafts
distributor – all units sold were bought by professors from Atlanta
inventory at end of 1995 – 1996 school year:
are open by nature – storing goods in display cases created security concerns.
Metal Art is made from artisans shaping and painting metal obtained from
garbage cans. Jamaican Chris Kenmay, a former Canadian, and his late wife
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.
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.
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.
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
the program for a television commercial.
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
of original display area in Warrior Warehouse. ACTco hung sheets on
folding tables to highlight giftware lines.
of improved display capability thanks to Mr. Todd Weibusch’s donated ceramic
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
/ ACTCo, needing capital for investment, seeks a credit line:
widely believed “business truth” is “either grow or start dying”. And it
is mostly true – ACTCo experienced decline when it stopped growing.
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.
/ ACTCo collaborate with the NAHS PTSA:
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.
ACTCo Board of Directors Newsletter:
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
list of goods the IBP purchased from the Riga Commercial School and amount that
ACTCo marked them up.
major annual challenge was training the students to maintain accounts
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.
Business Coalition President Sam Massell and the Atlanta Business Chronicle
encouraged local business to support the program.
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
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.
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.
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
Part 3 of IBP Components and Program Evolution will follow, cover the years
2000 – 2004, and conclude the three part series.