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A school-based enterprise (SBE) is an entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods/services to meet the needs of the market. SBEs are managed and operated by students as hands-on learning laboratories that integrate National Curriculum Standards in marketing, finance, hospitality or management.


SBEs provide realistic and practical learning experiences that reinforce classroom instruction. SBEs can sell to consumers through a permanent location, a mobile kiosk or through Internet marketing. Products may include spirit wear, food and beverage items, school supplies, signs and banners and more, while other SBEs provide services such as creative design, advertising sales and more.


School-based enterprises are effective educational tools in helping to prepare students for the transition from school to work or college. For many students, they provide the first work experience; for others, they provide an opportunity to build management, supervision and leadership skills. While some in the education community have only recently discovered the value of school-based enterprises, educators and DECA advisors have used them as a powerful teaching tool for more than four decades.


DECA offers SBE certification on two levels: chapter level through a written project and individual level through a comprehensive exam. The certification program reinforces the integration of National Curriculum Standards and 21st century employability skills into the SBE learning lab environment. Standards covered in both the written project and exam include retail, marketing and entrepreneurship concepts, and a range of business operations standards. Earning a chapter or individual certification garners international recognition, provides credibility, validates curriculum efficacy and strengthens the relevancy of the SBE as a valuable teaching tool. Participating in SBE certification is an effective way of preparing students for DECA competitive events and future higher learning and careers.

Chapter Certification

The program provides SBEs with standards for model school store operation and provides recognition for school-based enterprises at three levels: bronze, silver, and gold. The number and type of activities a school-based enterprise complete for each of the standards will determine the level of certification awarded.

For more information regarding School-Based Enterprise

Individual Certification

Through this program members may pursue individual certification in SBE operations through the successful completion of an online exam that measures knowledge and understanding of business operations concepts.


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