The goal of the W. W. “Foots” Clements Free Enterprise Institute is to teach young people about the free enterprise economic system. Free enterprise can be defined as “the freedom of individuals and businesses to operate and compete with a minimum of government interference or regulation.” More practically, it is the opportunity for someone to invent something new, start his own business, create her own company, and to see ventures succeed or fall on their own.
Free Enterprise Institute
Since its inception in 1997, the Free Enterprise Institute has hosted thousands of students from all parts of Texas in our programs, Advertising and Marketing Kid Style, Create a Soft Drink, and Biz-Smart. In the Advertising and Marketing Kid Styleday-long program, students use the soft drink industry as a model in which they create a new product, develop a name, logo, slogan, label, and a commercial—to understand the basic steps entrepreneurs take on the road to success.
The program begins with a tour of the Dr Pepper Museum. From a recreation of Dr. Wade Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store to the bottling room of the old Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company (which later was renamed “The Dr Pepper Company”), students learn how soft drinks were created, manufactured, and marketed. After the tour, the rest of the morning is spent exploring the history of advertising from the town criers of old through advertising on hand-held devices. Students also take a close look at what makes an effective slogan and logo, and of course there are some Dr Pepper television commercials!
The afternoon portion of the program is very much hands-on. Students work in teams to create three experimental soft drinks, one of which they choose to “sell” to the “public.” (More on this later.) Once they commit to a formula, students must decide on a name, create a logo and slogan, design a label, and plan and act out a commercial.
What Is Free Enterprise?
Free enterprise means the freedom of private businesses to operate with minimal regulation by the government.
The guiding principles of free enterprise are:
- Consumers Rule: Customers decide whether a business succeeds or fails by purchasing or not purchasing the business’s products or services.
- Right to Private Property: Individuals own their own homes, cars, businesses etc. – not the government.
- Freedom to Choose our Businesses: Business owners choose what kind of business to run; customers choose which businesses to buy from.
- Profit Motive: The business owners (individuals or stockholders) keep most of the profit they make. The rest goes to the government in the form of taxes.
- Competition: Businesses compete with each other by selling the highest quality product at the lowest possible price.
Free Enterprise Means Competition
Competition exists in almost every aspect of business. Competition is based on freedom of choice and begins by businesses offering products or services, and customers alone choose to buy or not buy. To attract customers, a business tries to offer the best product or service at the best price.
Businesses try to produce what they think customers will buy at the highest price a customer is willing to pay. Prices change all the time. When customers buy more of something, or there is a shortage of products customers want to buy, the price will rise. When customers buy less of something, or when there is an excess of supply of things customers want, the price goes down. This is called a free market economy.