Retail Entrepreneurship: Using Simulation to Teach Students the Techniques of Opening a Small Business
According to an article in the September/ October 2008 issue of The Futurist, “perhaps the most practical and potentially rewarding major (for students) is the relatively new field of entrepreneurship. …Self-employed individuals report the highest level of job and career satisfaction….(and) make up more than 75% of U.S. millionaires.” No educator who is attempting to prepare students for entry into the work world today should ignore the importance of entrepreneurship as a viable and rewarding career. To prepare students properly, this paper will explore a simulation class as the best way to obtain a clear understanding of what it takes to open and operate a successful small business.
The presentation will evaluate the merits of offering this instruction as a senior level capstone class, one that calls upon the knowledge that students have gained in many of the other classes that they have previously completed in the university environment.
I will explore how interaction with the local business community and government agencies might make this experience more “real” to students as their learning is expanded beyond the classroom into the community . The simulation format uses traditional classroom resources coupled with problem-solving techniques to overcome obstacles that naturally exist in opening a successful business. The opportunity exists for students to come away from the experience with, not just learning from books, but the ability to uncover hard-to-find information and deal with community professionals to achieve success.
Keywords: Simulation, Retail Entrepreneurship, Problem-Solving, Learning
Assistant Professor, Fashion Merchandising, Department of Fashion