EPE students run the Bobcat Boutique

(Submitted photo/Jennifer L. Kupiec) A group of Bobcat Business Leaders working on a t-shirt project.

Entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching, and running a new business, typically a small business. If you think it’s only for teens and adults, you haven’t been to Eden Park Elementary (EPE).

EPE students in third through fifth grade are showing us that elementary school children can be business owners, too. The Bobcat Business Leaders (BBL) is a group of students learning how to be entrepreneurs. They run a business called the Bobcat Boutique. The business uses a Cricut machine to make items that are then sold.

“We can design and cut vinyl,” shares teacher Ysela Quintana. “So far we have prepared shirts, aprons, canvases, and stickers to be placed on vehicles, planners, cups, and more.” The group even helped EPE’s teachers prepare for the school year with items for their classes. “Honestly, the sky is the limit!” exclaims Quintana.

Currently, the monies that are earned are deposited back into the Bobcat Boutique account to support the business and its growth. But the students are also learning to give back with Cricut for a Cause, selling stickers to raise money for Laces of Love.

Sergio, a BBL fourth grader, likes that the group helps provide new shoes to students in need (through its support of Laces of Love). Sergio says that he would love to run a business that can help mothers someday.

“Once they see everything that can be made, they are eager to create,” adds Quintana.

And while creating, they learn valuable life lessons along the way. For example, some of the group’s creations and designs don’t work out the first time around. They have learned that there are times you need to make adjustments to offer the best product.

Last year, Quintana had a student ask her mom for a Cricut machine. The student’s mindset was that the family could make extra money and turn this into a business of their own. “That is what I want,” shares Quintana. “I want for the kids to see that they have the ability to create a business.”

“The fact that I can take my passion and creativity, share it with the kids, and see the same excitement in them is a teacher’s dream…and I get to see it on a daily basis!”

Bobcat Business Leader student using the Cricut machine.
Bobcat Business Leader student showcasing the group’s new t-shirts.

Jennifer L. Kupiec is the Specialist, Communications & Community Engagement Collier County Public Schools

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