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How young students are mastering the art of business

Entrepreneurship is a key pillar of Haileybury inspiring students to put their creative and enterprising ideas into practice

NEWS 30 Aug 2023

Exploring creative business ideas and learning how to take those ideas and transform them into a startup business with potential is part and parcel of a Haileybury education.

Recently, the City campus hosted The Big Ideas Challenge Roadshow that saw students from seven schools visit Haileybury to debate and unleash innovative ideas they believed would make their community a better place for everyone.

As part of Haileybury’s Thrive program, Year 5 students took part in an incursion called ‘The Brief’ and they had to work in groups to develop a sports or outdoor product. Along the way they learned how to collaborate, design, trouble-shoot and define what makes a good business pitch and product.

“We want our students to look at the world’s problems as opportunities and, instead of sitting back and complaining, we want them to work out how they can turn a problem into an opportunity and improve the situation,” says Damien Meunier, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“We want Haileybury students to be problem solvers and risk takers, to see failure as a ‘first attempt in learning’ and to learn they may have to try and try and try before their business idea takes off”
Damien Meunier, Head of Innovation

For some students, their business has taken off and they are juggling their classroom and extra-curricular commitments with being their own boss.

The clothing designer

Year 8 student Oliver, has an eye for fashion and an entrepreneurial mind and he’s brought both talents together to create his own clothing business, Verve&Edge. Oliver started his business venture in January and his designs are now available in a local Berwick clothing store.

Oliver decided to start a clothing line because he’s passionate about fashion. Before launching Verve & Edge, he researched current fashion trends and the colours, designs and clothing styles that most appeal to young Australians. He then designed his own range of casual jumpers, beanies, joggers, hoodies and backpacks.

“I started door knocking on stores in my local areas to gain some attention for my business. I also advertised through social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. The challenge in getting the business off the ground has been getting traction – that’s why I wanted to get into retail stores so I could gain some traction in local communities,” says Oliver.

Oliver says the Startup course that is part of Haileybury’s entrepreneurship program has helped him build his business from scratch. His father, who is also in business, has also been a useful sounding board.

“Dad told me to always have integrity, to ensure my product is top quality and to not be afraid of being creative,” says Oliver.

“I’ve also learned it’s important not to give up. As with anything else, you’re not going to get thousands of sales in your first week and you need to keep working on the business. If this takes off, I could definitely keep working on Verve&Edge. If it doesn’t then it’s on to the next idea.”


Discover Oliver

The badminton business

A chance conversation with friends on a bus ride home from school led to Haileybury students, William, Kevin and Arvin, launching a thriving badminton coaching business called Go Badminton. It began in July 2021 and has attracted a steady stream of clients keen to brush up on their racquet skills.

“Kevin, Arvin and I were on the bus and talking about what we wanted to do when we grew up. Since we all played badminton, I suggested we start a coaching business. Kevin and Arvin are state level badminton players who had coached at other clubs so already had experience,” says William.

“School is important for learning many major life skills but you can only gain some experiences by venturing into the real world. One of the biggest reasons why I started the business was to force myself into trying new things and gaining experience outside of the school environment”
William (Year 11)

It took a couple of weeks to plan how Go Badminton would operate and the boys then ran their first coaching session. They teach students from ages six to 18 in small groups and run sessions twice a week. The business now has 49 students and nine coaches.

“I vividly remember Kevin, Arvin and myself in a desperate huddle before our first session – sorting out a rough plan of what we would so. We’ve gradually built our coaching system and learned from any mistakes,” says William

“My plan is to continue building Go Badminton until I graduate. I might then take a gap year to grow it to the point where I can work on it full-time, or I’ll start another venture.

“There are opportunities out there you don’t even know exist but they won’t present themselves if you don’t take small actions or steps every day — they might seem meaningless but are the start of your journey.”