From thrift shopping to creating handmade goods, students are able to sell products and services for a profit benefiting a local homeless shelter in Dr. Keanon Alderson’s Business 101 class at California Baptist University.
Alderson, director of the Business Administration Program, teaches teamwork and smart spending by dividing the class into groups and giving each $20 to spend as investment capital.
Students are required to create a microenterprise of their choice, which may either be a product or a service related to business. They must purchase items, sell their good or service, gain back the investment and ultimately generate profit.
“The mission is to turn that $20 into as much money as they possibly can, by buying and selling products,” Alderson said.
Successful businesses in the past have included purchasing brand name merchandise at thrift stores and reselling the items for triple the amount it was purchased. Alderson said a particular group that stood out to him was a group of self-proclaimed “neat-freaks,” who created a cleaning service and made a significant profit.
Samantha Natale, freshmen business administration major, is part of a group selling mason jars filled with Christmas decorations and LED candles in light of the holiday season.
“We wanted to do something creative that looked professional, was easy to make and was cheap,” Natale said.
Natale said it cost about $4-5 to make the product and each jar sells for $10.
“The most exciting part is being creative with the jars because every jar is unique,” Natale said.
All the proceeds are donated to Path of Life Ministries and Angel Wings Bakery, a local homeless ministry in Riverside.
“(Path of Life) shelter (the homeless), clothe them, give them classes, teach them how to make resumes, teach them how to get a job and teach them how to be self-supporting,” he said.
Alderson said he has assigned this project for the past two and a half years and has donated an estimated $4,000 to Path of Life Ministries. Last semester alone, he handed a check in the amount of $2,004.67 to the ministry and hopes this semester will beat last year’s numbers.
“I want them to learn that business is not all about making money, that business can be used to help society,” Alderson said. “Business can be used as a social good.”