Simcoe County students show off their entrepreneurial skills

Loralei Brown-Tisler learned how not to package lip balm first.

Brown-Tisler was one of 150 students in the Entrepreneurial Adventure program showcased at the Bayfield Mall on Tuesday, who accepted Twin Lake Secondary School’s first 2016 Simcoe-Muskoka Entrepreneurial Adventure Showcase award.

Brown-Tisler and a handful of Grade 11 classmates created an organic lip balm using biodegradable ingredients for their handmade lip moisturizer.

But it was the balm’s container that gave them the most trouble, she said.

“We had lots of packaging fails. It was a lot harder than we thought,” Brown-Tisler said. “We had a great idea to use meat (butcher) paper, but that didn’t work. So we learned about the CNC router at the school and made our own cedar boxes. We even engraved them with the Twin Lakes logo.”

So far, the Twin Lakes group has sold $400 worth of balm boxes, with a goal of earning $2,500 for the Orillia Building Hope organization to supply affordable housing.

Twin Lakes was matched with mentor Sarah McIntosh of BMO which has been the business partner of the Canadian Entrepreneurial Adventure program for the past 21 years.

McIntosh walked the group through dividing up tasks and offering assistance with the product concept, marketing and production.

“It turns out their demand is greater than their supply, which is a great problem to have,” McIntosh said.

Under the Learning Partnership umbrella organization, the 2016 Simcoe Muskoka Entrepreneurial Adventure wrapped up its first year in the Simcoe County area representing the Simcoe County District School Board, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, as well as the Protestant Separate School Board on Tuesday.

Students from Kindergarten up to Grade 12 were invited to participate in the Entrepreneurial Adventure program, learning to collaborate, how to communicate, speak publicly, as well as the importance of social responsibility.

Since its inception, more than 52,000 young Canadian entrepreneurs – with the support of 2,000 teachers and 1,500 business mentors – have created more than 1,500 ventures, raising in excess of $2.9 million for local not-for-profit organizations.

In Innisfil, teachers Erin Wood and Liz Chapman helped their junior and senior kindergarten students build birdhouses. The Alcona Glen Public School students sold 84 birdhouses, raising $1,350 in the process.

Minesing Central Public created Inky Squid water bottle holders and Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School students held a barbecue.

At the Honourable Earl Rowe Public School in Bradford, Brenda Cancelli’s Grade 1 and senior kindergarten class cooked cupcakes and baked dog treats which they sold for a toonie, to the tune $1,000 for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The biggest winners of the day were the Glacier Kids from West Bayfield Elementary School who received one of two national Enterprising Spirit awards, collecting the $500 prize for their charity, the David Busby Street Centre.

Coupled with business mentor and Dairy Queen owner, Brad Truelove, the West Bayfield team created their own White Strawberry Glacier Blizzard and sold more than $6,700 during the months of April and May.

Truelove was not only excited his group won the award, but was enthusiastic about the entire project.

“They had so many questions and for every answer I gave, they had another question,” Truelove said laughing, as the Glacier group handed out samples to the participating students.

“It was great. They had to write resumes, interview for their positions, chose managers and CEOs. They had to stand up in class and make reports,” he said.

Truelove said he erred when he gave 25 kids 25 different flavours to create the group’s blizzard, which resulted in a bit of a mess.

The Learning Partnership Entrepreneurial Adventure’s national program manager, Sue Pfeffer, joined the teachers and students at Bayfield Mall to celebrate the successful pilot project.

She said the BMO-supported program has helped thousands of students in six provinces learn the importance of teamwork, the entrepreneurial spirit and the impact of donating to the community, she said.

“One of the schools won one of two national awards in their first year. That’s a great success,” Pfeffer said.