Student-Led Business

In 2011, The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation awarded The Tarjan Center at the Semel Institute at UCLA a $210,000 grant to encourage youth with disabilities to become entrepreneurs. The Tarjan Center teamed up with Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE), an international network that helps teenagers start profitable, socially conscious businesses. Together we awarded seed funds to ten school-based programs to launch fully inclusive, socially responsible, student-run businesses.

What is an inclusive, socially-resonsible, student run business?
Students with and without disabilities ran each business.  They provided overall leadership and worked as employees. Each business was fully operational and sold products or services that generated income. Each business also made strides to reduce its impact on the environment by reducing waste or utilizing other “green” strategies.  Each business also donated proceeds to charity or came up with other creative ways to make the world a better place.

Some achievements include:

  • Spawned 10 student-run businesses
  • These businesses positively affected 925 youth with and without disabilities who either worked in or were patrons of the businesses
  • Student businesses earned over $32,000 in revenue
  • Student business donated $8600 to nonprofit organizations, as well as offering in kind donations and hundreds of volunteer hours

Stories of Succes
Watch the video stories of our student run businesses. Get inspired to start your own.

Strategies for Success
Watch our web tutorials to learn specific techniques for facilitating successful student businesses.

Additional Resources
We provided a list of additional resources that may be helpful if you are facilitating a student business.