Some high school students graduate with a bit of business experience under their belt.
William Michael DIMaio and Cole McIlvaine take unique skills with them as they graduate from Oxbridge Academy this year. They were part of an entrepreneurship course led by teacher Cedric L. Simon.
Simon pushes his students to execute a business plan and track marketing, branding, time management and budget.
“I like to say hey, I’m going to push you because it’s hard to get over this self-doubt. If you have this idea, how do you keep going, how do you not get into your own head,” he said. -he declares.
This particular pair of students made skimboards by hand. Their design is now several generations beyond their original prototypes.
“We have some boards that broke because they’re way too thin and some that sank because they’re way too heavy,” McIlvaine explained.
They called their company Caveman Board Co. It specializes in clothing and handmade skateboards.
“I say if you take care of the minutes, the hours take care of themselves. So we’re focusing on what we’re going to do in a day, it’s going to be that entrepreneurial spirit, but it’s going to be time management first,” Simon said.
The company has grown steadily over time.
“It was quite difficult at first to get our name out there, our main advertising is through TikTok and Instagram, so that really helps us spread the word,” DiMaio said.
The teenagers plan to continue the business through college, likely focusing on low-labor products so they can continue working in dormitories.
“Starting a business is about making mistakes and overcoming obstacles,” McIlvaine said.
Simon said students in his class learn to be entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, making themselves more valuable in the workplace, even if they work for someone else.
“Our rewards in life will always be directly related to the need for what you do, your abilities to do it, and how hard it is to replace you,” McIlvaine said.
The teenagers say part of the proceeds benefit a non-profit organization that helps with global reforestation. It remains to be seen what will happen in the future for teenagers.
“I would love to start my own business when I’m older,” DiMaio said.