You might be asking yourself – was ist eine Schülerfirma?
Literally: students’ firm/ company.
Schülerfirmen are not official business enterprises, rather, they are school projects which have educational goals. They were first introduced in the mid-1990s and can now be found at approximately 10% of German schools. Schülerfirmen are started and run by school students (with a supervising teacher) – school students work together to come up with a business concept, whether it be goods or services, and create a business which generates a real profit. Parts of the profit are reinvested back into the company and the rest is donated to charity. These businesses range from Schülercafés (student cafés), Schülerreisebürös (student travel agencies) to Schülertheaters (student theatre). These student ‘companies’ generally operate on a local scale and should therefore attempt to avoid competition with real local businesses.
Schülerfirmen are so popular that the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) introduced an annual nationwide competition for the best Schülerfirma – the Bundes-Schülerfirmen- Contest – where the top 10 teams invited to Berlin for the awards ceremony can win from 500€ to 2.000€.
The Bundes-Schülerfirmen- Contest 2015 included a variety of different businesses ranging from costume hiring services to bottle openers made entirely from recycled materials. The winner of the 2015 Contest was the Gymnasium ‘In der Wüste’ from Osnabrück with their project ‘Bienen in der Wüste’ (bees in the desert) whose slogan was ‘Bildung gegen Armut’ (education against poverty). Students built up a beekeeping business at school – honey from these bees was sold locally to raise funds for India, in collaboration with IndienHilfe Deutschland e.V. (India Help Germany).
Find out more about Schülerfirmen at:
http://www.umwelt-im- unterricht.de/hintergrund/schuelerfirmen-als- lernprojekt/