Personal finance. Working with people you don’t always get along with. Designing engaging content.
Bearden High School students are learning all kinds of skills through their simulated business PlasTech. The company, which theoretically creates plant-based disposable water bottles, aims to bring healthier and more sustainable single-use items to the everyday consumer.
And there’s a good cause behind their mission.
Bradynn Belcher, PlasTech’s designated CEO, was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome earlier this year. People with this condition may experience disrupted menstruation and can find it harder to get pregnant, according to the PCOS Awareness Association.
As the senior dealt with her condition, a business idea was hatched: reduce plastic waste while minimizing the risk for people to ingest chemicals when plastic water bottles get too hot. Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, is a common chemical used in plastic water bottles. When those water bottles are heated, however, the chemical can seep into the water you drink.
While the exact cause of PCOS isn’t known, there is some evidence that shows people with PCOS have higher concentrations of BPA than other women. BPA can mimic or interfere with a body’s hormones, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The Mayo Clinic says excess insulin, low-grade inflammation, heredity and excess androgen could be factors.
“I wish that in the world there was more of a mission behind everything and obviously, like, there are so many cool products out there that don’t have a personal mission, their main objective is to make a profit,” said Belcher. “And I just hope that our generation will kind of change that, really make stuff that will help people. So that’s what I hope people get out this class.”
Belcher said it is “really rewarding” to work on an idea for a product that could someday make a difference in people’s lives.
“I was never given a ‘why’ or a ‘how’ as to why or how I contracted this and so doing research and finding this out, I hope that one day there’s a cure and I hope that one day we find something,” she said. “But I like that we are prioritizing something that … not much light is shed on.”
Now she, along with 18 other classmates, have created an employee handbook, marketing materials, company newsletters and everything else that comes with a real business. They also set up a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and a website.
The project is for Virtual Enterprises, a program where students compete on business skills as they run their own company. This week, the students won third place in the state in the National Business Plan Competition.
All the students have jobs. On Thursday afternoon, marketing coordinator Dalton Peters reviews research about millennials. He knows the generation’s consumer habits and said if this were the real world, this is the consumer group the company would be targeting.
While the company only…