You may have seen Rebel bars while grabbing coffee to go at Gourmet Grocer or Williams Cafe. One Management 100 team is hoping that you'll notice them a lot more in coming months.
Rebel Ventures is a local business that stemmed from a group of eighth graders at Pepper Middle School, who came up with the idea to create and sell a healthy snack to their community. The students developed a superfood granola bar that they hoped would be a catalyst for healthy eating in their high school. After the classroom-based project’s success, it grew into a company called Rebel Ventures, which is currently run in part by high school students.
Most recently, Rebel Ventures has partnered with a Penn Management 100 team called SuccSEEDing Rebels. In the past, the organization has partnered with Penn through organizations such as The Wharton Social Impact Initiative, Eco-Reps and Penn Appétit. Though groups in the past got the bars sold at Penn retailers, this year's management team hopes to increase sales and awareness on campus.
One of the management team's new initiatives was to design a new Penn-themed package, which they hoped would drive sales on campus, which have flattened, Wharton freshman Cristobal Salamone said. Additionally, the team is working with Rebel Ventures to increase the number of bars produced by thousands so that the company can continue to expand.
The Management 100 team has also played a role in promoting Rebel Ventures and teaching the high school students important business skills.
“For a lot of what we have done, we ask the students to provide their input, which helps adjust our thinking. This also helped us produced our deliverables, which included creating a blog post and getting written work published,” Wharton freshman Analiese Fernandes said. “We also want to make sure to get students involved so that when we leave, they can do things similarly to what we have done and can do it themselves.”
High school students who work at Rebel Ventures learn many life skills, including creating business plans.
“I learned good communication skills, which allowed me to work better as a team with the people I work with every day,” said high school sophomore Trecia Gibson, who is involved with Rebel Ventures and helps bake the bars.
In the future, Rebel Ventures plans to expand their business beyond their current scope. To achieve this, the company is looking into creating new sustainable partnerships with the Philadelphia school community and with Penn students. The bars are currently sold at five elementary schools and two high schools, as well as on Penn's campus, 2009 Penn graduate and Community Service Coordinator at UNI Jarrett Stein said, adding that he hopes to eventually sell them in all of the city's public schools.
“We are really intentional about allowing the community to take control of their health and wealth. By running a business, they have control of that," he said.
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