About Enterprise City
Enterprise City is an innovative free enterprise program designed and implemented to provide students hands-on applications through an interdisciplinary approach to economic curriculum and role-playing simulations in a “mini-city.” Core curriculum objectives are blended in the preparation phase allowing participants to increase their ability to assume civic and economic responsibilities in the marketplace and apply economic concepts such as scarcity, supply and demand. The purpose of this program is to provide students with hands-on opportunities to experience the challenges of entrepreneurship and personal money management.
Enterprise City began in 1985 with funds raised through the combined efforts of the business community, school board, and district administrators for construction of the “mini-city” and interdisciplinary curriculum development. After the initial contribution of $250,000 for the building of the city, individuals, corporations, and foundations in the area continued to underwrite the daily operation of the city through contributions.
Enterprise City is a required curriculum for all 6th graders in RISD. Currently, several other public school districts also send one or more schools or programs to Enterprise City. This list includes: Allen, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Coppell, Dallas, Garland, Lewisville, McKinney, and Plano. Additionally, several private schools participate.
Prior to an exciting day at Enterprise City, students spend two to three weeks studying the Enterprise City Curriculum in their classroom. Teachers educate the class on basic economic concepts and personal finance. They arrive at Enterprise City ready and eager to spend a full day applying economic and civic knowledge to simulated market place activities.
The Enterprise City unit of study includes economic concepts, language arts, mathematics, and technology skills needed to run the city. The curriculum is aligned to objectives on the state mandated tests as well as the specified essential knowledge guidelines for several curricular areas. During the preparation and study phase, students complete job applications, campaign and hold elections for local government positions, and prepare an advertising campaign for their business. In addition, students learn how to maintain a checkbook, apply for a business bank loan and procure and manage human and material resources. Once students arrive at the city, their skills and experiences expand as they become employees and consumers. They earn, loan, save and spend money and make choices about how to price and market their inventory. The young entrepreneurs’ goal is to run their shops so efficiently that they repay the bank loan, including interest, and make a profit by the end of the day. During “work breaks” they experience personal income management as they visit other shops and make judgments and decisions on spending.
The program is run by one full-time district supported coordinator and six part-time certified teachers. Volunteer parents and community members help support the staff. Thousands of students come through Enterprise City during a school year, and each year we receive testimonies from students and parents about this being one of the best, most memorable experiences in their lives! Mention the phrase Enterprise City in almost any setting around town and you will hear stories of praise and admiration. It is an incredible flagship program for the Richardson Independent School District.