Mixing Business and Pleasure: The joy of gaming and the spawning of entrepreneurs

Have you ever been changed by a game? Whether or not you’re a gamer, you probably have a view on whether games truly have the power to change a person’s attitude or develop their skills. Although using games for learning is becoming more and more accepted, there is still relatively little evidence of its successes.

This blog is a celebration of one such success – the part one game plays every year, in inspiring tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, leaders and change-makers.

The Back Story

Like many a game narrative, this one also starts with a Prince!

Mosaic, A Prince’s Trust Charity, was founded in 2007 to inspire young people from deprived communities to realise their talents and potential. Mosaic’s annual Enterprise Challenge takes students from such communities on a learning journey into business and enterprise, supported by voluntary mentors who are successful business people. The challenge ends in a grand final with a winning team, deemed to have presented the best business idea to a panel of high profile judges, receiving lavish prizes thanks to generous sponsorship.

In order to get through to the finals, teams had to compete for highest net profit in Totem Learning’s ‘The Business Game’. The game places the player in the role of an entrepreneur setting up a business. They must choose a product and make decisions on sales channels, quality, marketing spend and price and then trade for three virtual years.  The game is as fast or slow-placed as the player wants and during play, they must react to competitor activity, watch their cash flow, their stock levels etc.

An in-game avatar mentor introduces the game, and characters give the player hints for success, meanwhile in the real world the fantastic Mosaic mentors relate game based scenarios back to their own experiences in business.

Scoring: The Stats

We got some incredible feedback from surveys conducted by Mosaic. Here goes:

94.92% of mentors rate their experience of mentoring on the Enterprise Challenge competition as good, very good or excellent.

94.92% of mentors rate their experience of mentoring on the Enterprise Challenge as good, very good, or excellent.

88.45% of students rate the Business Simulation game as either good, very good or excellent

88.45% of students rate the Business Simulation game as either good, very good or excellent

80.74% of students agree or strongly agree that they feel confident that they know the basics about working in business (multiple choice question)

The evidence showed that students really rated The Business Game element of the challenge, when asked “What did you enjoy most about the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge Competition?” a few of the many responses were:

Participating in the game with other peers
The game because it was interactive, challenging, fun
It was like running a real life business, every little thing you did affected the business and the constant alerts told you what you’d achieved allowing you to know what you have done right or wrong

The Epilogue

There is a real mix of experiences that make up the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge – it’s a blended learning success story!,  but its undeniable that the game has been a powerful tool in changing student’s attitudes towards business. We’ve met Enterprise Challenge Alumni who’ve gone on to start their own businesses and name the game as one of the crucial contributing factors to their entrepreneurialism (see this Youtube video).  Richard Smith, MD of Totem Learning says “We’re really proud that our game is a part of the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge, and we’ll continue to sponsor it because we know it makes a difference to young people’s attitudes and aspirations.”

The Feedback Loop

We’d love to hear about any games that have had an impact on your lives so please Tweet us @teamtotem.

If you want to read more about Mosaic and the great work they're doing click here

Click here to find out more about The Business Game, trial it or purchase it for your school.