Written by Mrs. Bergman, Counselor
What do the founders of IKEA, JetBlue, Charles Schwab, and Apple all have in common? They all have learning disabilities. While learning disabilities can make many tasks more challenging, they are often associated with strengths in entrepreneurial areas such as creativity, problem solving, and big-picture thinking.
This fall, the 12th grade class undertook an entrepreneurship project aimed at developing skills for small business leadership including production, marketing, inventory management, and customer service. The students founded Great Minds Candle Company and together worked to create an appealing range of products to sell at Horizon Academy’s Fall Fest. The students learned about the difficulties of producing a new product, pricing inventory, predicting sales, and marketing a business. They also experienced the excitement of setting up a display booth, interacting with customers, and seeing the sales add up. In total, Great Minds Candle Company sold 22 candles and earned over $200 to donate to the Horizon Academy Scholarship Fund.
It has been fun to see the students gain confidence through this project. Many of our students are quick to recognize their challenges but have more difficulty recognizing their strengths. The tasks involved in running the business brought out the students’ talents from graphic design to accounting to sales, and allowed them to see how these strengths might apply to a future career. While our students’ paths to career success might look different than those of individuals without learning disabilities, I have no doubt that this group of budding entrepreneurs will go on to do great things.