Battle Mountain High School entrepreneurial program culminates with Gift Fair on Dec. 7 | VailDaily.com

Battle Mountain High School entrepreneurial program culminates with Gift Fair on Dec. 7

Students in the Battle Mountain High School entrepreneurial program are creators, risk takers and are living their passion. They are entrepreneurs.

Business teacher Elissa Jane Mastel leads the new program at Battle Mountain, and the classes are made up of a diverse mix of students from freshmen to seniors. Since October, the students have been working on creating their own businesses from the ground up, and it all culminates with the final exam on Thursday, Dec. 7 — a Gift Fair at the school with all of their creations available for purchase — individually or wholesale for local businesses to carry their products.

The students in the two entrepreneurial classes at Battle Mountain were divided into groups of three or four, with 12 total groups starting different businesses and selling different products.

"I've always wanted to start my own business," said Maggie Skidmore, a 10th-grader at Battle Mountain, "and I thought this class would give me lots of experience."

'Part of Being an Entrepreneur'

As part of the class, each group had a project manager, production manager, marketing manager and finance manager — no CEOs. Groups were tasked with creating a product to sell, and then following through with a business plan.

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Some of the products created are candles, T-shirts, tote bags with inspirational quotes, key chains, holiday terrariums, lip balm, cookie dough and stickers.

"I let them fail, for sure," Mastel said. "But that's part of being an entrepreneur."

For ninth-grader Kai Haggen and his team, the program provided the opportunity to learn about costs when starting a business. The group planned on getting preprinted tote bags with inspirational quotes that cost $15 to make. In the end, Haggen and his team decided to buy the bags separately for $2.68 and then put the quotes on the bags themselves at a cost of $1.

"The idea of starting a business is exciting," Haggen said.

The businesses are legitimate, with students using their own money to get them going and paying themselves back off of sales. Students learn about branding, marketing, publicity, social media, production, product management, finances and much more in the program.

"Personally, I'm just elated to have such autonomy here at Battle Mountain High School and the space to create," Mastel said. "I'm proud of each student in each of the groups. Each one has had a different set of challenges."

While the Gift Fair is technically a final exam, some of the products and businesses will continue if they see a good return. All of the businesses have websites, social media accounts and are available for local businesses to pick up wholesale.

The program in its inaugural year looks to continue under the leadership of Mastel.

"Ms. Mastel is very helpful," Skidmore said. "She's always there to push us and keep us going. She's very supportive of our ideas and helps us when we don't know what to do. She's great."

Entertainment & Outdoors editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

If you go …

What: Battle Mountain High School Entrepreneur Gift Fair

Where: Battle Mountain High School cafeteria.

When: Thursday, Dec. 7, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Cost: Free.

More information: For more information about the entrepreneur program at Battle Mountain High School or any of the businesses, contact Elissa Jane Mastel at elissa.mastel@eagleschools.net.