Ursuline Academy Entrepreneurs

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NEW ORLEANS — In March we celebrate women’s contributions to our society. In 1727, the Ursuline Nuns came from France and were trailblazers in women entrepreneurship.

Barbie Oltmann is a second grade teacher and also an Ursuline Alumna of Ursuline Academy and says, “The Ursuline sisters were pioneering entrepreneurs. They had hospitals and schools. I want to continue their legacy and spirit with our young girls.”

Last year, the second graders were in first grade and had a business assignment to collectively create and promote a unique product of their own. They came up with “slime.” Slime was very successful. Over 200 units were sold and it made a profit of about $700 dollars. It helped to pay for playground equipment for the school’s students.

This year, 22 students once again are to come up with products that can be sold for real revenue. Each girl now has a different homemade product and the items are to be sold at the first ever “Ursuline Academy Marketplace,” a shopper’s paradise for other students in the courtyard of the school on Friday.

“We took our economics unit and created a business application that the girls had to fill out. They’ve had to come up with a product that they made, a slogan, a commercial and a business name. We are teaching girls they can do whatever they want to do so that they can bring that throughout their life and careers,” says Oltmann.

Once again the money raised will be put to good use. A “buddy bench” will be purchased. A “buddy bench” is a bright and colorful bench near the playground where students can sit down to be noticed if they need a playmate.

The young women in Oltmann’s second grade class came up with a wide array of products. Some kids came up with practical items like elaborately decorated piggy banks. Then some students came up with desk decorations like yarn-adorned llamas with pastel coloration.

The same qualities of ingenuity and perseverance that the Ursuline sisters established those many years ago are alive and well.

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