Student-Run Businesses are Teaching Kids Real World Lessons

Elizabeth Adams
Initial State
Published in
3 min readOct 22, 2019


My favorite thing to lament on when looking back at my time in high school or middle school is that I didn’t learn enough skills I could use as an adult in the real world. They never taught me how to do my taxes or how marketing works or how to budget money. Sure I learned things like geometry and chemistry and literature but I always wished high school had prepared me more for college and life in general.

A trend I’ve seen in schools lately is entrepreneur classes. The students can learn about how businesses work and in some cases start a business themselves. It teaches kids about dealing with money and taxes, managing inventory, marketing, sales, and customer service. These are things that they will deal with in work and their personal lives.

One school who has implemented such a class is Fair Haven Schools in Fair Haven, New Jersey. I stumbled upon their program after finding they were using the Initial State platform as part of their website. Their program is called Fair Haven Innovates and has 7 different classes/student-lead initiatives. The Innovation Lab introduces 4th & 5th graders to design thinking, engineering, computer science, and the digital arts. FH Gizmos allows 6th graders to find, create, and sell solutions to everyday problems. FH Grows has 7th graders learning about the environment while using technology to help grow their garden and their business. FH Leads is an incubator for 8th graders where they can help grow a local business, create an impact project, or start their own business. FH Gives is a student-run social impactive initiative. FH Live is the broadcasting group that has original content, live events, and web shows. FH Knights is their Esports team.

This isn’t just one entrepreneur class, this is an entire program dedicated to technology, business, and innovation. These are real solutions and real businesses they’ve created that turn a real profit. It teaches kids the type of growth mindset and business skills that most of us don’t learn until college and sometimes even our first job. I am completely jealous of the experience the kids in this program are having and utterly impressed by the adults who put a program like this together.

The project that put this program on my radar was FH Grows. In this program the students grow and maintain gardens, sell byproducts and other garden related items as part of their business, donate 25% of their profits to charity, and use IoT technology to help their garden grow. Their website is dedicated to showcasing their work, selling their products, and showing off the technology they are using. They embedded an Initial State dashboard into their website that they use to monitor weather and greenhouse conditions. They can use that data to help grow their gardens.

Data the FH Grows Weather Station & Greenhouse

Programs like these are going to create a generation of creators, entrepreneurs, and innovators. They’ll have the critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to tackle any and all problems. I look forward to seeing what these kids do in the future because I know it will be something amazing.