Economics and Language Arts Activity

Students plan a new business and present it to a panel of local entrepreneurs.



  1. Have students offer ideas on how they would go about starting a new business. Suggest that one step might be consulting people who have successfully set up new businesses.

  2. Tell students they are going to work in teams to develop ideas for a new business and present it to a panel of business people. Develop, with student input, a list of local people who have started their own businesses. Appoint a committee of letter writers to develop a form letter inviting at least three such people to participate in the panel.

  3. Have each team brainstorm ideas for a new business. To help them develop their ideas, they can use the Business Plan form, which is based on the five W's and an H.

  4. Have each team present its idea. Let the class vote to narrow down the final number to three. You might present these plans in advance to the panelists. Or choose a spokesperson from each group to make the presentation to the panel.

  5. In preparing for the panel, have students draw up general questions about entrepreneurship. These might include asking panelists how they started their businesses, where they got the ideas, what difficulties they encountered, and what general advice they would offer new business people.

  6. Have a recorder or recorders take notes on the ensuing discussion. Later, students can use these notes to summarize what they learned about setting up and developing a new business.


Encourage students, in planning a new business, to think beyond the usual occupations. For example, have students with skills in arts and sports consider ways they could turn their interests and talents into profit.

Students can develop a document, such as a brochure, to interest financial backers in their new business. Writers and artists can work together to present the plans in the best light. This would provide a good opportunity to help students understand the ethical implications of making promises there is no guarantee can be kept.

Explain that an important element of any business plan is accounting for competition. Have students use local resources (such as directories) to ascertain who their competitors would be. Students might add a section to their plan that lists these potential competitors and explains how that would affect their plans.

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