April 27, 2012

Student Board Members Launch Small Businesses to Benefit Local Charities

Members of the 2011-2012 Texas Bank and Trust Student Board of Directors (SBOD) in Longview and Tyler tested their money management skills this year with a hands-on exercise in running their own small business. The Fortune 100 Project, a first for the bank’s Student Board program, offered SBOD members a real-world simulation in entrepreneurship. The students on each board were divided into seven-member teams, and asked to launch a small business between March 1 – March 31 with a $100 “micro-loan” from the bank.

Proceeds from each business were designated for charitable organizations chosen by the students. From pancake breakfasts and car washes to bake sales and odd jobs, the students selected businesses from an approved list. The team with the highest net profits after repaying their loan was named “TBT’s Small Business of the Year” at the final Student Board meetings in April.

The fourteen members of Texas Bank and Trust Student Holding Group took home first-year honors for the project. The team, borne out of a merger between two smaller teams – Sails for Tails and Cups for Pups, succeeded in raising more than $1,300 for the Gregg County Humane Society. The team bested nine other competitors with two successful car washes and a cupcake sale during March. When asked about the unexpected merger, Pine Tree High School Senior Nathan Wood explained, “This was supposed to be a real world simulation, and mergers happen every day in the real world. So, we thought (merging) would give us the best opportunity to win.” Mr. Wood served as chief executive officer of the merged team.  The remaining winning team members include Hayley Cook, Tanner Carroll, Samantha Hutchison, Kasey McGough, and Taylor Polk from Pine Tree; Maggie Littlejohn, Wesley Malcolm, Colton McCasland, Angel Reed, and Karis Warren from Longview; and Katie Clark, Caleb Jones, and Nikki Nesbitt from Spring Hill High School.

In total, five area organizations will receive proceeds from the$3,100 raised through the Longview Fortune 100 Project businesses. In addition to the Humane Society, the teams’ profits will go to Invisible Children, Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Asbury House, and the Women’s Center of East Texas Hope’s Closet.

The members of Men at Work, Inc. won out for the Tyler Student Board teams. The team, led by Grace Community Schools Senior Alden Warr, succeeded in raising more than $2,100 for Habitat for Humanity of Smith County. The remaining Men At Work, Inc. team members included Cole Paxson, Keaton Yeatts, Jeremy Thames, Grant Childress, Eduardo Serratos, and Redis Jones. 

Men At Work, Inc. led their four competitors with two successful car washes held on March 3 and 24. The team narrowly edged out T-Town Running, an errand and odd jobs service business, by just $31.00 to claim the top prize. “T-Town” was led by the team’s chief executive officer and All Saints Episcopal Senior Javi Virk.

In addition to Habitat for Humanity, the Fortune 100 Project teams successfully raised more than $6,100 for four other area organizations, including The Salvation Army, Humane Society of Smith County, Refuge of Light, and the Children’s Advocacy Center.

Texas Bank and Trust will make a monetary contribution to each winning team’s designated charity.

Through the nine-month program, the student directors learned to develop business plans, set up a budget, and manage their operations, to include advertising and customer service.  Each team was also paired with a TB&T officer to serve as an advisor.

Established in 1978, TB&T’s Student Board program is designed to introduce students to banking and money management at a critical point in their lives, and provide them with essential economic building blocks related to earning, spending, saving, and investing money. More than 1,600 East Texas high school seniors have participated in the program since its inception.


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