Twenty-two years after its modest beginnings in a Carleton University classroom, a competition is teaching young people around the world the fundamentals of running a business.
In the beginning, teachers and Sprott School of Business staff would fax the results of the Sprott Business Competition back and forth. But when competition moved online in 2002, the number of participants exploded, with students and schools as far as Manitoba, British Columbia, Malaysia and Trinidad participating.
“With online, there are endless possibilities,” said event organizer Robin Dunbar.
The only free online business simulation program run by a Canadian university, the Sprott Business Competition held its Ottawa challenge yesterday.
About 8,000 high school students — 200 of whom attended yesterday — started out with a quantity of virtual money and the same product, MP3 players. They then invest in the equipment, research and development, marketing and advertising needed to grow the business.
“I’m learning the basics of how companies are run,” said Steven Hardy, a Grade 11 student at South Carleton High School. “It doesn’t give you a full understanding, but it does give you the foundation of how businesses are run.”
In addition to learning, students are also having fun, said Hardy’s teacher, Blake Claydon.
“They’re learning about things like supply and demand and how to analyze financial statements.”