Inside the Foundation  
 
A Foundation Grant at Work: Annual Biz Kid$ Middle School Cooperative Entrepreneurship Competition
Thursday, December 20, 2018 11:15 AM

More than 100 middle school students from 17 schools across Oklahoma participated in the second annual Biz Kid$ Cooperative Entrepreneurship Program hosted by the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education and presented by WEOKIE Federal Credit Union Foundation with grant funding from the National Credit Union Foundation.

The competition took place in October in celebration of National Cooperative Month and was held on the University of Central Oklahoma campus. The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives was a cosponsor of the event, with assistance from other affiliated partners and credit unions.

Participating teachers were paired with a “cooperative consultant” from a local credit union, electric cooperative, or cooperative trade association, and together they taught students the basics of cooperatives and implemented the Biz Kid$ financial education program. The Biz Kid$ lesson plans and episodes provided the students with the knowledge and tools to become creators of their own businesses.

Prior to the competition, teachers provided relevant instruction to help students understand the ins and outs of starting their own business while the consultants guided students in the cooperative way. The students put together a formal business plan for their new cooperative as well as a short presentation to convince the judges that their cooperative deserved the grand prize.

The day of the competition, students were able to showcase their teamwork abilities, public speaking, and newly learned Biz Kids$ entrepreneurship skills. They also had the opportunity to participate in a Reality Fair, a youth experiential learning activity where students are a given a salary, and make purchase decisions while trying to balance their budgets.

Caney Middle School took first place with their Double Play Resale business concept. Caney is a rural town with most students at the school qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program, and the nearest sports retailer is 50 miles away. Double Play Resale is a consumer cooperative that resells gently used sports equipment, clothing, and apparel on a consignment basis.

“I am so thankful for the Biz Kid$ experience,” said McKena, an 8th grade student from Caney Middle School. “I have grown so much in my skills, and I also learned about the benefits of a cooperative business. I had not even heard about a cooperative business before Biz Kid$!” 

“Having the opportunity to teach these student about co-ops and seeing them get excited about the cooperative system was really neat,” said Sarah Baca, Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council cooperative consultant for Belle Isle Middle School. “Their transformation from a nonexistent knowledge base of co-ops to presenting on patronage and membership in front of a panel of judges made me extremely proud.”

The following organizations demonstrated concern for the community while cooperating among cooperatives to provide education, training, and information by serving in the BizKid$ Cooperative Entrepreneurship Program as a consultant, judge, or Reality Fair volunteer:

Credit Unions: Allegiance CU, Catalyst Corporate FCU, Communication FCU, Muskogee FCU, Tinker FCU, University & Community FCU, WEOKIE FCU, People’s Trust FCU of Houston, and Simplicity CU of Marshfield, Wis.

Electric Cooperatives: Cotton, OEC, Alfalfa, Canadian Valley, CKEnergy, and Lake Region.

Partners: BizKid$, Cornerstone Credit Union League and Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, CUNA Mutual Group, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and MemberHaven.

About the National Credit Union Foundation (ncuf.coop):
The National Credit Union Foundation is the charitable arm of the U.S. credit union movement and works as a catalyst to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions. Through grants and programs, the Foundation is strengthening financial well-being, igniting passion, and instilling knowledge about the credit union difference, and uniting resources to help credit union people during disaster. Donations to the Foundation ultimately enable credit unions to help their members reach life-changing goals and achieve financial freedom.

About Biz Kids$:
Biz Kid$ is a financial literacy initiative launched nationally in January 2008 that teaches kids about money and business. The initiative includes an award-winning TV series, free classroom curriculum, outreach activities, and a website targeting children 9–16 years old. The Foundation is responsible for the fundraising and outreach of the program, and a coalition of over 300 credit unions and affiliates from across the country have helped exclusively fund Biz Kid$.