82nd International Atlantic Economic Conference

October 13 - 16, 2016 | Washington, USA

Dollar enterprise - an integrated experiential curriculum to teach economics and entrepreneurship

Friday, October 14, 2016: 2:35 PM
Chyi-Lyi Liang, Ph.D. , College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC
Dollar Enterprise is a nationally recognized award winning program integrating service learning and experiential learning in economics and entrepreneurship. It helps aspiring and nascent entrepreneurs learn more about being entrepreneurial, decision making, and why entrepreneurs fail using $1 seed money to each individual for each new venture team. This activity runs twice a year in each semester with 120-140 students who form 11-14 teams. 

Here is a summary of the planning, execution, and evaluation of Dollar Enterprise:

  • Instructor applies for location permit, food permit, and event announcement 8 months prior to the beginning of a new semester.  A series of lectures and training workshops introduce course contents in the first 4-6 weeks of each semester.  Course contents include: brainstorm ideas, team building and structure, product design, workload assignment, communication strategies, resources and opportunities, business plan and business model,  networking and competition, market analysis and marketing, financial analysis, daily operations and quality control, and internal assessment/peer reviews.

  • Each team will design and conduct workshops to prepare for business plans, products, and market research. Arts and craft teams must use recyclable materials to create new products. Food teams must follow Campus Dining Safety.

  • Each team runs their business for 4 weeks on campus (at least 3 hours every day from Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm) during the semester in various pre-reserved locations only.  No school resources such as rooms, tables and chairs will be utilized. Each team is required to identify a charity organization to which it will donate all proceeds, and to provide additional service learning hours for the charity to create new programs, renovate existing programs, or offer other types of support.

  • Each team conducts daily/weekly team evaluations throughout the semester prior to, during, and after Dollar Enterprise activities by Teaching Assistants, secret shoppers/judges, peer reviews across teams, and community partners. Evaluation categories include quality of team work, planning and operation procedures, professionalism, effectiveness in communication, customer service, and innovation.  At the end of the 4-week business activity, each team concludes with a business report, financial report, self- assessment, and final team member assessment. 

Since 2005, over 4,000 students have participated in Dollar Enterprise and generated over $50,000 for more than 300 charity organizations. Student teams have contributed over 30,000 service learning hours. More than 25 organizations have donated ingredients/materials to support student teams in the past 10 years.