Cougar Corporation (Downingtown East High School)

The cougar, a member of the large cat family, is known for its long range, which extends as far north as the Canadian Yukon and as far south as the Andes in South America. The student entrepreneurs of Downingtown East High School's non-profit Cougar Corporation are known for their long range plans as they discover, at a young age, what it means to be involved in a "real world" business including developing long- range business and marketing plans, selling a variety of products, donating the profits to local charities, and then repeating the process the following year.

Mrs. Peggy Alvarez, Cougar Corporation's advisor and the Entrepreneur teacher at Downingtown East, has teamed up with SCORE members and counselors Jim Kane, Bob Fedor, and Charlie Espenlaub for help in understanding business plan concepts, financial considerations, and marketing opportunities. Fedor, Kane, and Espenlaub proudly note that during the past three years, the Cougar Corporation has raised more than $10,000 for local charities including the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Chester County Food Bank. This year the team focused its efforts on the sale of rally towels, wristbands, baked goods and other products, and by holding a local car wash. Kane, Fedor, and Espenlaub meet with Cougar students and Mrs. Alvarez biweekly during the school year virtually becoming the Cougar Corporation's Board of Directors.

For the SCORE counselors, the spirit of entrepreneurship at the high school level is very gratifying. One young student entrepreneur and the current president of Cougar
Corporation, Karl Hilliard, not only is involved with Cougar but also has a successful
business of his own. A straight-A student, Hilliard, starting at age 15, established a
profitable bath product business, working more than 40 hours per week manufacturing
and selling his own goods.

The success of the Cougar Corporation demonstrates how resourceful students at Downingtown East can be and how rewarding it is to make money and then be able to give back to the community. With SCORE's help and guidance, these young students are learning the realities and challenges of running a business and are developing an understanding of the value and importance of teamwork, planning, and research.

Espenlaub, Kane, and Fedor give a "hats off" to these young entrepreneurs and look
forward to continuing SCORE's relationship with Mrs. Alvarez and the remarkable
students at Downingtown East High School during the current school year and for the
foreseeable future.