Liger Learning Center: teaching students how to start and run a business

For the second year, Liger Learning Centre students are following a programme on entrepreneurship designed by a+b=3. Liger Learning Centre provides an innovative education model to high potential young Cambodians and one key area is entrepreneurship. Instead of learning then applying, the curriculum is built on a real project idea that students experiment with and strive to set up as a real business and in parallel, to complement what they discover by themselves, students learn the basics of business in a thirty-five hour programme (every day over seven weeks), that covers

  1. Introduction to business
  2. Selling: distribution, marketing, packaging and prices
  3. Purchases and production: negotiating with suppliers, quality issues; legal side
  4. Finance basics
  5. Business Plan and financing a new business
  6. Bookkeeping and getting organised
  7. Business and work ethics, growing/investing

Like our other programmes, the courses are very hands-on and include lots of games and activities.

Here is what last year’s students said:

1) What was some aspect of the curriculum that you liked learning about?

I like it because it’s getting me to think a lot and careful (…), just like in the game where Nousha sells the coconuts in the area where people already sell it and she doesn’t succeed in her business. So, it teaches me that before we start any business we should think about it carefully. (Sokea)
The aspect of the curriculum that I like learning about is the 12 step to start a business because it makes me think about the future of the business and I can teach other people outside Liger to using it too. The other curriculum that I like to learn is Nousha’s Story because it reminded me some of the things that I did in the past. (Meng)

What I like about curriculum is I have learnt a lot of things to start a business. I think the curriculum is very good for the kids that want to learn how to start a business because it is a game but it teaches very well. (Puthea)

I love (…) Nusha’s business activity. First of all the activity gives us to read Nusha business story and how she want to earn money but there are many issues. Then the activity wants us to think and rewrite the story with the best solutions. (…). This activity helps me more with problem solving. Before finding the solution I need to find problems. This activity also helps my brain work well too. When I try to use my imagination to find the solution it helps me understand (how to) make a successful business.  (Somphors)

I feel really joyful and interested with the Coconut Business example in the curriculum. I think this is the best business example that I ever see because it is really helpful for me and I learn how to spend our money from it and try to find a better strategy [to make] our business be more successful. (…) I also really like and love (…) the business steps. (Veng)

When I learned about added value, I started to think more about different added values that our business have. That is one the important thing to thing about starting a business and that’s what can make your business success. I also started to think about my own added value and what can I work on in my life to improve my life. (Kimseng)

2) What was something you learned that helped you in running our business? 

I also like the 12 steps to start a business. Since our school has our own business so, when are some problems in our business we use to think about the 12 steps to start a business and what we did wrong and which step we forgot. Also, in class we did a team activity which is renting a shop to sell products (fruit and drinks). It was really fun, but it hard to organize our money because too many people. (Sokea)

Learning about the added value is important for me to run a business. (…). Thus, if I create my own business sharing my business added value will help to attract more customers to buy my product which gives me more profits. I will use the knowledge of added value to help my mom business.   (Somphors)

One thing that helps me run the business is the business map. It helps me think about how the business is going to work. It also helps me and my team to see the whole picture of our business. It told us who we want to sell our sauce to and what our expenses are. (Kinseng)

My favorite activity when learning this topic is about the first steps of running a business. (…) I think it is important if a person just thinks about selling things and sells something without having an idea to do it. Mostly it causes the problem to the businesses and also if that person did not think well about it, it would be hard for them to run a business. (Maya)       

3) How do you think this class will help you in life? Has it changed the way you think about running a business?

When I see other people’s business I used to think that it not that hard to start a business we just need to have money and an idea to start. However, after I learned about entrepreneurship I change my mind, to start one business even a small business it isn’t easy. You have to think about many things such as a place, your expenses and especially your customers. (Sokea)
The 12 steps to start a business and the financial literacy really change the way I think about starting a business a lot, because before I thought runny a business is very simple than this but actually it’s a lot of work.

There’s a lot of the lesson that I like and all of them are really helpful. All of this lesson will help me in the future because when I get older I already know what I’m going to do and It’s also very important to know all of this when you’re young, so when you get older you’ll be more prepared. When I learn this lesson I started to think about expectation vs. reality. In the Chilli sauce business, when I did the forecast detail I always make sure that what I predict is also related to reality. For example, the activity about coconut business shows reality too. For example she won’t make any money on the first day she started the coconut business. The business needs to continue until you see the break-even point. It really changes my mind about running a business because it’s not as easy as it is. I’m one of the members in the finance team so I know how hard to plan everything out and how hard to make the business work and get profitable. (Soliday)

Absolutely yes, this class will help me in life. Before when I think about business I think that we just have some ideas and start with it then we borrow someone’s money and buy stuff. After that, we just continue with the business (and) wait until we get enough money to pay the loan back. After I learn this
class I know deeply about borrow someone’s money we need to pay them as fast as possible (lender gives a deadline) and we need to pay them with the interest that they decided. Also to start a business is really complicated that we need to keep tracking for everything and being organized with our work. (Veng)

This class will help me a lot in my life especially my future because I want to be a businessman. Before this class, I had a very little idea of how to start a business and how to make it successful. Now, I think I have a good idea of how to make a business successful and it will help me a lot in the future since I really want to start a business. This curriculum was amazing. I learn a lot (…). (Kimseng)

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