Business and Mission Statements

SENIOR DIVISION ONLY!

  • Learn about different types of businesses
  • Choose which type of business yours will be
  • Write a mission statement for your business

WHAT IS A BUSINESS?

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘business’? You might think of a local farm stand, a grocery store, a bank, or a big technology company like Facebook or WhatsApp. 

A business is any organization or person that is doing something in exchange for money or another good. 

Businesses can:

  • make, buy, or sell goods (like a company that makes cars)
  • provide services (such as a mobile phone service company).

There are many young people who have started their own businesses. For example, Megan Yap, a Technovation alumna from Malaysia, started her own business, Melli Studio, selling stickers online.

Mellistudio logo

GOALS

2 girls working a lemonade stand

Usually we think of a business as a way to make money, which is your profit.

Businesses can have other goals besides making money.

Social goals, like

  • helping feed hungry people
  • providing students with a better education. 

Business goals, like

  • creating eco-friendly products
  • providing customers with the best product possible

All business have one thing in common; they need some way to bring in money so that they can continue to operate. 

There are three main types of businesses – for profit, non-profit, and social enterprise.

FOR PROFIT BUSINESSES

For-profit businesses focus on earning a profit by selling goods or services. They can also have goals, such as creating the best products possible or having great customer service.

apple logo

Apple

is a major seller of phones, computers, software and more. Their goal is to design the best computers and phones in the world.
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McDonald's

is one of the world’s largest food corporations. Their goal is to be their customers' favorite place to eat and drink.
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NON-PROFIT BUSINESSES

Non-profits exist to help solve a problem or contribute to a cause. They do not have the goal of making money.

UNICEF logo

UNICEF

works with partners around the world to promote policies and expand access to services that protect all children.
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technovation logo

Technovation Girls

helps girls around the world develop the skills to become technology and entrepreneurship leaders.
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SOCIAL ENTERPRISE BUSINESSES

Social enterprises focus on doing something beyond making a profit, like helping solve a social issue. They use some of the profit they make to accomplish this goal.

Morogoro Cocopeat

founded by Technovation alumna Winnie Msamba, manufactures and distributes organic growing medium from coconut husks to help local farmers.
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hand holding every table sign

Every Table

restaurants provides nutritious food for communities. The food sold in richer neighborhoods helps to subsidize the food cost in poorer neighborhoods.
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ACTIVITY 1: CHOOSE A BUSINESS TYPE

Estimated time: 20 minutes

Discuss these questions with your team
and write down your answers

  1. What do you want to accomplish by opening your business?
  2. What are some of the goals of your business?
  3. How do you think you can sustain (keep it running) your business?
  4. What type of business do you want yours to be? (for-profit, non-profit, or social enterprise)

You don’t need to have all the answers today but it is important to keep thinking of these as you build your business plan. You can always change the type of business as you further develop your project solution and business plan!

MISSION STATEMENTS

Your business goal really is to solve the problem that you identified, but you will also need money so that you can keep the business running or scale it up (grow its size and impact).

Stay true to the original goal of your business by staying close to your company’s mission statement.


A mission statement is a formal summary of the values of a company, organization, or individual.

Mission statements help companies determine what is important and what is not, and clearly state who will be served and how.

A mission statement is usually a short and simple sentence that outlines the organization’s purpose and how it accomplishes that purpose.

Your mission statement is the “heart” of your business.

It helps to look at mission statements for other organizations for inspiration. See some examples below.

ACTIVITY 2: WRITE A MISSION STATEMENT

Estimated time: 20 minutes

Develop your mission statement as a team

  • Should be 2-3 sentence long
  • Should describe the goals of your business
  • Some questions to guide you:
    • What do we do?
    • How do we do it?
    • Whom do we do it for?
    • What value are we bringing?

REFLECTION

You have accomplished a lot as you start to develop your business plan. Consider these questions:

Why do you think there are different types of businesses?
What are the advantages of the different types of business?
What type of business do you think will be best in solving the community problem you are trying to tackle?
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REVIEW OF KEY TERMS

  • Business – any organization or person that is doing something in exchange for money or another good
  • Profit – money made from operating a business
  • Non-profit – a company that has a goal other than making money
  • Social Enterprise – a business that focuses on doing something beyond making a profit, like helping solve a social issue
  • For Profit – a company that has the goal to make money
  • Mission Statement – a formal summary of the values of a company, organization, or individual

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Here’s a short video explaining more about social enterprises.