Girls in biz – does it get better than this?
“I have learned that I can speak in a community,” Quinn Buob wrote of the lessons she learned while participating in the 2012-13 GIRLS'BIZ class, sponsored by Wisconsin Women Entrepreneurs Southcentral, Inc. and the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin, Badgerland Council. Buob added, “I have the confidence and a sense of humor. I noticed every time I spoke, I made the WWE woman laugh. I also noticed I have joy. Whoever I spoke to left happy. I also learned that not everyone likes the things/products that we sell.”
This week I had the honor of attending the graduation ceremony, held at the Fluno Center, for participating sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade girls in area middle schools. Each young lady stood and gave a one-sentence summary of what she’d learned, and comments included, “I learned all about how to start a business” and “I learned I like adults more than I thought” – a nod to the generous women who have mentored them throughout the year.
Sally Hestad, Hestad Law Office, is the program director. GIRLS'BIZ is a community program that “empowers middle school girls to start and run their own businesses and spend their profits on a group trip and a contribution to charity. WWE developed the program in 1995-1996 and our community partner is the Girl Scouts of Badgerland Council. The program meets on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8 p.m. from September through April, and joins WWE for some of their Tuesday evening meetings. Each September we assemble a new group.”
Each year, the girls form and name a company and work with a designer to create a logo. This year they formed the H.O.P.E. Company (Helpful Overachieving Powerful Entrepreneurs), and at the conclusion of their business activities they provided shareholders (WWE) with an annual report.
“I learned how to keystone,” Gabi Roth proudly announced. “It is a way to make profit on your wholesale. You take the initial price and double it.” The practical experience was buying chocolate malted milk balls, toffee almonds, and chocolate-covered caramel candies for $1.50 wholesale and then selling them for $3. Sadie Thorson reported, “We sold out of the chocolates right away, so I would definitely sell them next year if people are willing to buy them. However, they are not fair trade, which is a downside.” Quinn added, “We kept eating the products and we realized they were the only ones left. Oops.”
The girls also take field trips to women-owned businesses, where they interview business owners. With their newfound friends, they brainstorm product ideas, take product surveys, make business plans, take orders, produce and sell their products, and keep track of revenues and expenses. That banking part was the hardest for some. The fun stuff? They determine their profit and decide how much to give to the charity that they choose. Then they plan their trip.
This week, they gave $450 each to an organization created to provide 90-day foster care for pets for domestic violence victims and to the children’s hospital expansion. WWE then matched those donations. That left $77 per girl in profit for a group shopping trip! “I learned I want to have a business someday because you can get rich!” one young woman stated, accepting her diploma.
Throughout the year, the girls meet women in business and increase their skills in planning, speaking, and sales. If you’d like to be one of those women mentors, you can come to a meeting, donate a home-baked snack, help at a sales event or holiday party, or be interviewed about your business. There are also opportunities to become an assistant troop leader. And if you know a young lady who would benefit, contact Sally Hestad.
IB is sponsoring a booth at our October expo for the next class of future entrepreneurs to give them a place to sell their wares and learn more about marketing and presentation. We invite you to make it a point to stop by for a bag of candy, a bar of soap, or whatever product they are making and/or distributing next fall. You’ll be indirectly contributing to area charities and directly contributing to at least one young woman’s budding spirit of entrepreneurism!
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