TREP$: Entrepreneurship from Passion to Profit

By Neisha Payne, Dean of the Middle School; TREP$ Coordinator
This is our second year of participation in the TREP$ program, a project-based exploration of entrepreneurship. The Genius Block is an opportunity for Middle and Upper School students to learn how to identify and then dive headfirst into a passion. Sixth-graders, for example, learn how to navigate the process of taking a product from inception to point of sale. During teacher-led workshops, students become well versed in the language and ideologies of product development, marketing research, advertising, merchandising, and salesmanship.
In collaboration with our school’s Economic and Financial Literacy Initiative, on Shark Tank Day — based on the television series — students benefit from the knowledge and experience of financial professionals within our community. The students present their thoroughly researched and well-rehearsed pitches to a panel of experts, faculty, and administrators, who provide invaluable feedback with regard to their product design, target audience, budgeting, and pricing decisions.
The Marketplace celebrates the culmination of the program. This event is a student-run vendor fair at which the sixth-graders sell goods they’ve designed and created themselves. Last year, students sold everything from headbands to doggie-treat tins and from cell-phone cases to candles. A&B Scrubs — a collaboration between Annie W. and Bridget D. — led the sixth grade in profit generation, with net profits of $261.35 from their sale of hand scrubs.
“I never expected to learn how to run a business at such a young age,” said Bridget.
From Annie: “I probably never would’ve learned how to do all of these things if I hadn’t come to Kent Place.”
Through the efforts of parents, faculty, administrators, and schoolmates, every student was able to reach the “break-even” point or even better it. In fact, the most difficult problem for this group of sixth-graders was to determine how to collectively enjoy the more than $2,000 in profit.
TREP$ is a remarkable program that rewards focus, determination, teamwork, creativity, communication skills and just plain old-fashioned hard work. We’re so proud of all the participants, and we’re fascinated by where their imagination will lead them next.
Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.