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School-Based Enterprises



School-based enterprise (SBE) is a simulated or actual business conducted by a school. Students create and operate an economically viable venture that replicates a business. This is a learning experience that provides direct links between classroom learning and the world of work.

Rationale for SBEs

Many communities do not have the business and industry base to provide sufficient opportunities for students to gain work-based learning experiences. A SBE can fill that void.

The SBE should be designed to lead a student to a productive career, and the school programs of study must have the course capacity to provide the learning needed by the student to become successfully employed. In a SBE, the student's career courses and academic courses integrate around the SBE.

Developing a SBE can be a creative challenge to a school, department, teachers and students. Large-scale endeavors will probably need the input and assistance from more than one person to be successful. A collaborative agreement with a local business/industry or well organized advisory committees would be helpful. The SBE must be oriented and run by students. Teachers serve as advisors, but not chief executive officers.

Some SBEs operate like regular small businesses, letting students apply the academic and career/technical content they have learned in school. A SBE can also give students real practice in entrepreneurship, accounting, budgeting, cash-flow management, marketing, inventory control, and business/industry/technical skills. Students in SBEs develop skills in problem solving, communication, interpersonal relations, and learning how to learn in the context of work.

In the work-based continuum, SBEs focus on many of the skills needed to be successful in a workplace experience.

Laws and Regulations

Foods and beverages sold to students before school, during school, and 30 minutes after school are required to meet the USDA Smart Snacks Requirements. For questions about Smart Snacks, contact Carrie Scheidel at

Submit Your SBE

Let us know about your enterprise: Submit Your SBE


MBA Research and Curriculum Center's State’s Connection - Free to Iowa educators. Log in or register to access tools, content and resources for SBEs.

Junior Achievement USA's - JA Company Program and JA Be Entrepreneurial programs incorporate entrepreneurship, business and operations that align with SBEs.

Career and Technical Student Organizations:

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on August 04, 2020 at 11:36pm.