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Year 8 student's business, launched by a school project

Category: News

Submitted by on Fri 18/11/16 11:08

This year, our Year 8s experienced project based learning. This enables them to pursue unique interest areas and take their skills and knowledge to the next level. A new module, called $20 Boss, is based on a $20 investment loan — seed money that comes from the Foundation for Young Australians and National Australia Bank. Students are required to use the money to develop an entrepreneurial or philanthropic concept that will make a financial return. At the end of the project, they are required to pay back $21, the value of the loan with interest. Below is a story told from Year 8 student Jake's perspective, about how he set up a small business and earned $980 (so far) with his $20 loan.

I like looking and shopping at markets. You know the weekend ones where there are always handmade things like clothes, fruit and veggies, second hand tools and toys? You know, just cool affordable stuff.

I had recently been to a local market where I live by the sea and noticed a stall that was selling timber chopping boards. I thought about how good those boards would look if they were more random shapes. It would be cool if they somehow had whales and dolphins etched into them, and I thought to myself, I could make chopping boards that tourists would like when they come to Straddie to look at the whales and dolphins!

Anyway, a short time later, my school came up with the $20 Boss investment program and I thought I might give my idea a go. I had a chat to Dad and told him my ideas and asked about suitable wood for making cutting boards. He informed me that Camphor Laurel and Cypress timber was what was best for chopping boards as these timbers have natural oils that kill bacteria. He knew where there where some tree limbs of Camphor Laurel that I might get something out of.

Dad thought that out of the old Camphor Laurel tree limbs I may be able to cut enough wood to make 50 to 70 boards. So I struck a deal with Dad and gave him the $20 seed money for the Camphor tree limbs and made another deal with my brother, Blake. If I washed his car and mowed his lawn, he would help me cut these tree limbs into 25mm boards with our Porter's Mill sawmill.

I ended up cutting 76 boards and because they sell simple square and rectangle chopping boards at the local markets for $35 each, I thought: Hmmmm, $35 X 76 boards = $2,660! That’s unreal! I’m gunna make this happen!

I initially sold my first three boards quickly, for $80 each. I’d sketched up some little dolphins and whales and took my sketches to a metal laser cutting mob at Yatala GCI group. They supplied me with stainless steel laser cut outs in my designs for $33.00. I found some bent and broken spear fishing shafts at home and got Dad to weld them to my whales and dolphins… Now I have my custom branding irons! We have a wood fired pizza oven at home that I heat my branding irons in and then brand my boards. 

I made all up 76 chopping boards and branded and sold 33 boards for between $25 and $45, depending on their size. I have recently started adding dip bowls to the boards. They have been popular. 

I have 65 boards in stock to sell over the Christmas break and have been selling them as quick as I make them.

Thanks, BAC, for providing me with this opportunity!


By Jake 

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