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Entrepreneurship in Elementary School Submitted: 03/16/2012
Eagle River - At one Northwoods elementary school, students are learning a whole lot more than reading, writing, and 'rithmetic.

A class of 5th grade entrepreneurs started and ran their own businesses, and on Friday, they completed the final part of the project - selling their product.

Before going to market, students had to create a business plan, apply for loans, and make a product. Patricia Rickman, the fifth grade teacher who started the project, says most of all, it's about students learning teamwork.

"One of those soft skills that they learn is having to work with their peers, and work through all the glitches. They have to be able to work together to have a successful product, and that, to me, is the best outcome, that they can work together," Rickman says.

One student I spoke with said that was a valuable lesson, but added the project went much further, getting them to think about the future and teaching real-life applications of what's learned in class.

"I'm not sure if you want to own a business or not, because you take the risk and you have to pay back the loan, but I think I'll definitely consider it," says fifth grader Annalise C.

"I think it's a great opportunity, putting that real world, adult business in the hands of little kids. And to see how excited he was and how it really sparked his imagination," says Julie Livingston, the parent of a fifth grader at the school.

Eagle River National Bank, M&I Bank and WRJO donated $300 to get this project going, and that money refreshes itself as students pay back the loans they took out as seed money.

Written By: Lex Gray

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