Insight Into Some of DECA’s Unconventional School-based Enterprises
A school-based enterprise (SBE) is an entrepreneurial venture within the school setting that operates like a small business. Students are actively engaged in designing, organizing and managing the enterprise's day-to-day operations, with support from school personnel. Many DECA chapters have a school-based enterprise, and we wanted to highlight a few unique SBEs that have emerged due to a particular product or service demand in their school or community. These two non-traditional SBEs are gold-certified through DECA's School-based Enterprise Chapter Certification Program.
Warren County DECA
Contributed by Richard Gardner, DECA Advisor | Warren County High School, VA
Wildcats! Live is a tri-branch sports media marketing company devised of three branches that make up a retail SBE for Warren County High School in Front Royal, VA. Our first branch is an online live streaming service with high-quality camera graphics, play-by-play announcers, in-game statistics, pre/post-game interviews of players and coaches and an experience like no other. The Wildcats Live! broadcast streams at every home sporting event to capture the plays of each game. Our second branch is a bi-weekly interview show featuring the school’s top athletes, coaches and club leaders. The show recaps the previous school week, including sporting events, club activities and future fundraising events. Our third and final branch consists of football game programs with our sponsorships and selling fall sporting photos at home football games. This branch allowed us to collaborate with our junior varsity cheerleading team to sell them to the crowd.
Wildcats Live! was founded in 2020 due to the pandemic's negative impact on our school and the athletic department’s ticket revenue receipts. When the pandemic hit, our athletic department was impacted the worst. With a limit of only 25 spectators allowed in the gym, no system was in place to recover lost ticket revenue. Wildcats Live! took what would have been a loss for many and turned it into an opportunity to create a revenue stream for the athletic department. To make up for the lost revenue due to the lack of spectators, we started our live-streaming service. Our goal was to create a viewing experience that included broadcaster commentary, in-game statistics and an on-screen scoreboard.
After two years of production, the Wildcats Live! live streaming service has transitioned from having a revenue-producing focus to creating positive public relations with the high school community. Forming a partnership with National Media Services, a local business in our community, has benefited our SBE. National Media Services has provided us with a mentoring experience and the equipment needed to produce high-quality live streams of our 2022 fall athletic games. Due to the lack of need for online live streams, broadcasts are now free and recorded on the Royal Examiner YouTube channel for everyone to watch. We are now considered the public relations officers of the athletic department. Coaches and players use Wildcats Live! recordings to help practice and prepare for upcoming games. We have created strong community awareness for our athletic events in the past two years.
Elk River DECA
Contributed by Sonja Weiler, DECA Advisor | Elk River High School, MN
The DECA Depot, the original retail SBE at Elk River High School in Elk River, Minnesota, has grown to four locations over the past decade, including the original brick-and-mortar location inside the school, The SWAGON mobile store, The SHOP Downtown holiday pop-up and an online store.
The SWAGON is an enclosed trailer modified to serve as a mobile store. The SWAGON allows our chapter to bring our merchandise outside our brick-and-mortar store to sporting and community events such as farmer’s markets and parades, gaining recognition in our community. While not out at an event, The SWAGON is parked outside our school building, where students can inventory and restock it for the next event.
The SHOP Downtown began as a DECA Sales Project and has become an annual event. Each November and December, Elk River DECA rents retail space at a local salon in our downtown business area and is open three nights and Saturday mornings each week. The SHOP is staffed with students from the School Store Management course and our chapter's SBE Interns (younger students interested in being part of the store management class in the future). Specialty merchandise designed with the general city and state logos and merchandise from our brick-and-mortar location inside the school is used to stock the store. The SHOP allows the DECA Depot to expand its reach further into the community, catering to alumni back in town visiting family and tourists passing through.
The SWAGON and The SHOP played an integral part in our SBE pivot during the pandemic. When Elk River High School did not allow visitors, The SWAGON was parked outside the school for shoppers to shop outside at a safe distance. The SHOP allowed for operation outside of the school building and school day using state-mandated COVID protocols established for retail stores. Both experiences taught students the value of flexibility and the ability to pivot during tough times.