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WBL: School-Based Enterprise

WBL = Work-Based Learning

A school-based enterprise is a learning tool for students to gain real-world experience in a hands-on environment. It provides work experience inside the school through an entrepreneurial operation that meets the needs of a specific market or target audience. Students gain:

  • Job interview skills;
  • Hand-on learning;
  • Work-based experience in all aspects of a business, including inventory, marketing, and accounting;
  • Tailored classroom education that integrates with work experience;
  • Interpersonal skills such as stronger communication, self-confidence, and problem solving;
  • Revenue to support special projects or programs; and
  • Pre-employment training that prepares students for the workforce.


School-based enterprises operate much like a small business in that they identify a need and a target market, establish and write a business plan, make or acquire inventory, engage in marketing of their products or service, and sell the goods or services to generate revenue. Typically, school-based enterprises fall into one of two categories: retail or food service. Retail options might include selling products like school supplies and school-themed apparel, while food operations are just what they sound like: snack or coffee shops, small cafes, or convenience store food products.


School-based enterprises deliver a unique experience as students prepare and deliver through researching, creating a business model, planning, implementing, and evaluating their market.

FCPS provides an onboarding orientation and support. The district also collects evaluations and feedback to make changes for the following year that enable students to try new ideas.