Hot Shot Business (www.hotshotbusiness.com) is a free online simulation, appropriate for kids ages 9-14. Created by Disney Online in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, the simulation challenges kids to run a skateboard factory, a pet spa, or a comic book store and earn $2000 in profits in six weeks.
Youngsters learn how to get financing, look at surveys of what customers want, prepare marketing campaigns, and learn to react to customers’ demands and events in the news. Customers display the product they desire in thought bubbles over their heads. Kids may need to change the kind of products they carry to match the demand.
Kid testers found the game play to be fast-paced and challenging. Many had trouble winning the simulation on their first try but found they became better business owners on the second and third tries. They had a small complaint about the lack of a pause button to allow more time for research and planning. Parents also should be aware that the simulation contains Disney advertising.
The simulation is fun, hip, and an engaging way to learn about running a business. When players create a successful virtual business, the website offers the “hotshot” entrepreneurs extra materials, including clever ideas for starting kid-businesses and the option to print their own business cards and matching flyers.
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