School-based enterprises are designed to provide students with general employability skills. They give students real practice in entrepreneurship and help them develop self-confidence and leadership skills. Some SBEs may lead to students earning credit if they are enrolled in a Career Practicum course and meet the course standards. Placement is based on the student’s goals and plan of study during high school.


When developing a school-based enterprise (SBE), collaborate with school personnel to launch a program. It is important to follow school and district policies and procedures when proposing or creating an SBE. Additionally, seek student input as much as possible. School-based enterprises are great ways for students to develop essential employment skills while making meaningful contributions to their school. Here are some crucial elements to consider when creating an SBE experience.

  1. Get approval to begin developing an SBE from the school and district
    • Investigate existing district policies and procedures
    • Collaborate with school personal to develop a basic plan
    • Get approval to begin developing an SBE
  2. Develop a plan to start an SBE
    • Include students and encourage them to be creative in brainstorming ideas. There will be greater buy-in from them when their voices are heard.
    • What will the business provide? Determine whether the business will provide goods or services
  1. Construct a solid business plan
    • A business plan template can be found under additional Supplemental Materials.
    • When your business plan is finalized, work with the administration for approval.
  2. Consider the impact and benefits to your students.
    • What job skills will the students develop?
    • Will it be a meaningful work experience?
    • Will the environment facilitate students having the opportunity to problem solve, practice making decision, and provide opportunities to work in teams?
  3. Include students in the business plan development process
    • Have students research existing SBEs in other schools
    • Take a field trip or plan a video call with another SBE to learn from their insight.
  4. Develop procedures (with student input) that address dress code, clocking in and out, absences, suspensions, promotions, work rules, safety, and job assignment
    • Determine how to create procedures and policies that are fair and equitable. Will students rotate through various roles? How will promotions be determined fairly?
  5. Develop a shift schedule
    • Work with students to ensure that the opening and closing of the SBE will run smoothly.
  6. Develop job descriptions and training manuals
    • Employee instruction should include managerial and direct service workers.
  7. Create an interview and application process for students
    • Practice typical interview questions with students and how they can prepare to apply and interview
  8. Develop daily operations tasks
    • Determine procedures for student employee training, compensation, money handling protocol, and other necessary tasks for the operation
  9. Consult with local business experts to identify cooperative learning and teamwork activities
    • Lots of businesses use various team building activities in workplaces. Consult and research how to build rapport among the team for improved efficiency and communication in the SBE
  10. Work with students to market the business.
    • Conduct a class activity to create the SBE
    • Have students promote the business through written or digital formats
  11. Create evaluation forms
    • Reflect with students during evaluation meetings:
      • What have they learned during their experience?
      • How have their relationships changed with others?
      • What barriers did they overcome in the SBE?
      • Do they feel confident in their abilities
  • Observe students perform tasks in the SBE. Evaluate the level of support needed for work tasks over time.
  • Templates for evaluation forms can be found under supplemental materials for Work-Based Learning Activities.