The student company Seedbombs from the Eichendorff School in Schoningen offers "seed bombs" for the garden to combat bee mortality and promote biodiversity. The Woodconnection from Braunschweig's Johannes Selenka School produces, among other things, wooden pens. And the Genusswerkstatt of the Wichernschule in Konigslutter now runs its own store where, for example, jam and cakes are sold.
Around 30 such student companies from our region and beyond will be able to present their products and services to completely "normal" customers over the course of two weeks. They exhibit in the Schloss-Arkaden Braunschweig at the "Schulerfirmenmesse", which is organized by the Braunschweig civic foundation for the third time, every two years. The young entrepreneurs come from all types of schools and classes, from first graders to vocational students.
The organizers also include the Braunschweig Junior Chamber of Commerce. "We want to introduce students to entrepreneurship at an early age and take away their fear of self-employment," explains Doris Skala-Gast, spokeswoman for the Junior Chamber Foundation and an entrepreneur herself. Andreas Werner, Chairman of the Foundation's Board of Directors and Managing Director of Strang Kalte- und Klimatechnik, also hopes to generate future specialists and managers through his involvement in schools.
All companies have a connection to sustainability
The companies are usually based on business ideas from students, who are accompanied by teachers as up-and-coming entrepreneurs. All companies have a link to sustainability – anyone who doesn't take social and environmental aspects into account as an entrepreneur today is doomed to failure, says Peter Beute, teacher and regional student company coordinator for the state education authority. For those who just want to make money for the time being, this is where they come in. But most of the students would have ideas of their own that revolve around sustainability.
Beute is released from teaching one day a week to personally supervise student companies on site. The state education authority and the community foundation cooperated on the fair from the very beginning. The girls and boys are gaining a whole new sense of self-confidence by working in their own companies, reports Beute. For some it was a further qualification, for others the first real chance. Some up-and-coming entrepreneurs are not exactly the kind of students who excel in classical subjects. Some would find out in such a way, which training they want to make. It also promotes an understanding of everyday working life.
In principle, the work in the student companies makes it clear what the subject matter is needed for – math for accounting, for example, and German for marketing. Susanne Hauswaldt, managing director of the community foundation, adds that in elementary schools, abstract subjects such as multiplication tables become concrete. Pupils would need it for about the amount of felt they need for their decorative items.
Prizes worth 15.000 euros
According to Beute, the fact that the up-and-coming companies can present themselves to a walk-in clientele outside of school is what makes the fair in Braunschweig so special. "This is something completely different from everyday school life."Pupils from special schools also show their business ideas in the shopping center. Beute reports that some students have already made the leap to the first job market through a student company. Anyone who does a good job at the school catering can get a training position with a catering company.
Three student-run companies are to receive awards for their ideas, their presentation and their marketing. The Junior Chamber also awards prizes for business ideas for the first time. The main prize: the realization to market maturity, from product and production to marketing and sales. The prizes have a total value of 15.000 euros. The patron of the fair is Bernd Althusmann (CDU), Lower Saxony's Minister of Economics.