Entrepreneurship at MSM
Academically gifted students have many opportunities at Mount St. Mary. Advanced and honors level coursework is available in all subject areas. In addition, Academy Scholars participate in a hands-on entrepreneurship curriculum through which they create and run their own small businesses, allowing them to learn and engage in creativity in an exciting way. MSM student businesses include both real products and virtual businesses, and are affiliated with two international programs: Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) and Virtual Enterprises. Our entrepreneurs have competed successfully both nationally and internationally, experiences which have guided their college plans and offered them valuable life skills.
Beginning in their sophomore year, scholars create actual, real-life small businesses. Throughout the school year and over the summer, they sell goods or services. Each spring, teams compete in the regional championships to earn a berth to the national SAGE USA competition in California.
Two MSM teams won national championships at the SAGE USA competition. The teams then competed at the SAGE World Cup in Ukraine and both were ranked 4th in the world in their categories. Business Buzz, a company that specializes in community activation, competed in the Social Enterprise Business category. Essence, which produces essential oil-based products, was named top Socially Responsible Business. Additionally, Business Buzz, which focuses on community activation, won gold awards for work on two United Nations Sustainable Development goals: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and to sustainably manage our forests and land.
Virtual Enterprises International is an in-school business simulation program which focuses on college and career readiness by providing students with an understanding of business and workplace challenges. Through the Virtual Enterprises program students create a virtual product business and oversee everything from accounting/finance and human resources to marketing and IT. Students use virtual currency to buy and sell products with other firms throughout the world.
As part of VEI, our students started a virtual company called Essence which sells an array of virtual scent-based products. The company received regional and national honors for its business plan, and has competed against the top teams in the United States and forty countries throughout the world at VEI’s international trade fair and business plan competition in New York City. The team has since translated its virtual success to an actual product based business.
Making Connections for the Future
Mount St. Mary Academy works closely with area businessmen and women providing mentorship and real-life entrepreneurship skill development.
Business Buzz and Essence prepared for competitions by working with professionals who offered advice on everything from product development and pricing to sales and marketing strategies. Essence was mentored by Bill Brandel, Country Chief Executive of Ingram Micro Canada, and Sean Rahill, Director of Marking at Independent Health.
The Mount St. Mary entrepreneurship program has also worked closely with 43North, Buffalo’s business start-up competition. 43North staffers and winners helped prepare the students for the national and the World Cup competition.