North Bundaberg Year 11 student Wendy Hooijer is also CEO of a mock company called Smooth Coffee,k part of the Ecoman Program sponsored by Bundaberg Sugar.
North Bundaberg Year 11 student Wendy Hooijer is also CEO of a mock company called Smooth Coffee,k part of the Ecoman Program sponsored by Bundaberg Sugar. Max Fleet/News Maill

Students lift sick business

YEAR 11 student Wendy Hooijer may be young, but she has already led a team that helped rescue a company in serious trouble.

Unfortunately, it was not a real company Ms Hooijer and her compatriots pulled out of the depths to which it had sunk.

She was part of a team of students from several Bundaberg schools taking part in an economic management program called Ecoman, run by the Queensland Private Enterprise Centre (QPEC) and supported by Bundaberg Sugar.

Ms Hooijer said the students were divided into three teams of six and given various roles, such as the CEO, which was her role, financial manager, marketing manager and human resources manager.

The business they took over was a coffee machine manufacturing enterprise that had been running for 10 years and was not doing very well.

Part of the reason may have been in the name.

When Ms Hooijer's team took over their assigned company it was called Beatin Coffee, but the enterprising students soon changed that to Smooth Coffee.

“We had to decide things like buying machines to turn out a better quality product,” she said.

“We also had to work out things like prices, demand and whether we needed to employ more staff on the production line.

“If we added too many staff we would have to reluctantly release them.”

Ms Hooijer said her team managed to put their company on a profitable footing over the three days of the program.

“On the last day we had to hold a shareholders meeting and tell them how things were going,” she said.

Ms Hooijer said taking part in the program had really sparked her interest in pursuing a career in business.

QPEC education co-ordinator Barry Hopf said all the Bundaberg students in the program more than excelled at their task.

“The results were really quite outstanding,” he said.

Mr Hopf said that during the program the students were faced with challenges all normal businesses went through, such as a recession, inflation and interest rate variations.



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