Bears' Student Enterprises

What happens when 7th and 8th graders are given a chance to own and operate small businesses on campus? Aspen Academy decided to find out! Middle schoolers learn how to operate, market and finance fully functioning businesses on campus. The opportunities that Aspen Academy provides prepares our graduates for real world expectations.

Bear’s Student Enterprises (BSE), which began in 2008, is comprised of seven business divisions:

1. Bear’s Cafe and Coffee Cart

2. Bear’s Store

3. Bear’s Broadcast and Media Productions

4. Bear’s Publications

5. Bear’s Honey

6. Bear’s Bank and Microloan Center

7. Bear’s Executive team: Aspen Academy boasts a team of 13 and 14 year olds that make up the youngest board of directors in the country that oversee the divisions of BSE- our very own C-level executives.

BSE Cafe/Coffee Cart

The Aspen Academy cafe/coffee cart is proud to share that they only sell Fair Trade coffee and tea products to their customers, provided by two Denver based companies, Coda Coffee and Teatulia tea. The cafe division also sells breakfast options, including burritos and donuts on Friday mornings and are consistently introducing new products. A team of 8-10 students operate, market and finance the cafe division with a teacher mentor as well as a community mentor to guide them to bring the mission and vision of Bear’s Student Enterprises to life.

BSE Store

The Bear’s Store is open every day from 3:15-4:15, selling Aspen Academy apparel, snacks and drinks. New items arrive in in the store throughout the year, as the team further builds the BSE vision. The store also highlights Aspen entrepreneurs’ products and novels authored by Aspen Academy staff, Teacher created greeting cards, and bow ties. The store division is proud that many of their products are Fair Trade or made in the USA.

BSE Broadcast and Media Productions

The Bear’s Broadcast puts on a live performance every other Friday during our Aspen Morning Program, or AMPd for short. The broadcast is a five minute segment that combines live and filmed segments, completely operated by our 7th and 8th grade broadcast division. Students film, edit and host the production on stage at each AMP. This is a great opportunity to see what members of the Aspen community are up to since each broadcast features community, local and world news stories, along with movie reviews, sports and STEAM segments.

BSE Publications

The publications divisions spends the year creating the Aspen Academy yearbook. The division is run by an 8th grade Editor-in-Chief and President of Publications, along with a crew of photographers and editors. Together they design a history book that collects the year-long memories created at Aspen. The Publications division also creates the annual report for Bear’s Student Enterprises that is then shared with the Board of Trustees at the January meeting.

Highlights of Bear’s Student Enterprises

  • Provide special orders to community members
  • Order and manage inventory
  • Develop and implement marketing strategies
  • Prepare financial statements, including profit and loss statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets
  • Present an annual report to the Board of Trustees
  • Use the Entrepreneurial Operating System Traction model to run efficient and productive meetings
  • Over 40 leadership opportunities within Bear’s Student Enterprises

Teacher quotes: Corey, Eric

Alumni quotes: Lucas, Ella Walton, Emma M.

STUDENT EXPERIENCES:

"BSE has helped me create my gluten free bakery. It has also helped me understand economics that most people going into the real world don't understand."

-Katherine Leaffer

Aspen Academy 8th Grader

“BSE has prepared me for the future and high school beyond what I thought possible. I have learned all about running a business, teamwork, and organizing my time.”

-Gwen FitzSimmons

Current 8th grader at Aspen Academy