American Business Merit Badge
American Business Merit Badge Info
The main point of this merit badge is to present the workings of business to scouts. The main areas of accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and management are covered, as well as free enterprise, banking, profits, and labor. The requirements help a scout begin to grasp the complexities of starting and running a business in America. This supports the mission statement of the BSA by introducing scouts to ethical business practices.
As far as merit badges go, it's not one of the fun, active ones since scouts are not actually creating or doing much of anything. All of the requirements are Explain/Describe types, so it is a lot of reading to understand business concepts. The scout does get to interview a business leader, so there's that.
This is a super merit badge for a scout to do individually with very little interaction with a counselor. The counselor can help the scout prepare for business interactions they will encounter soon as an adult.
American Business is very near the bottom of all merit badges in number earned per year with about 800 scouts earning it annually. But, the past couple years have seen a 10x increase, most probably due to the pandemic since this can be completed solo.
Requirements for the American Business merit badge:
- Do the following:
- Explain four features of the free enterprise system in the United States. Describe the difference between freedom and license. Tell how the Scout Oath and Law apply to business and free enterprise.
- Describe the Industrial Revolution and tell about the major developments that marked the start of the modern industrial era in the United States. Discuss three people who had a great influence on business or industry in the United States and describe what each did.
- Identify and describe to your counselor the five primary areas of business.
- Explain the history of labor unions in the United States and the importance of labor unions and employers working together. Identify two major labor unions currently in existence.
- Discuss with your counselor how business impacts the local, national, and global economy.
- Do the following:
- Explain the three basic types of financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows). Discuss with your counselor how each statement can help business leaders make better decisions.
- Explain how changes in interest rates, taxes, and government spending affect the flow of money into or out of business and industry.
- Explain how a sole proprietorship or partnership gets its capital. Discuss and explain four ways a corporation obtains capital.
- Name five kinds of insurance useful to business. Describe their purposes.
- Do the following:
- Explain the place of profit in business.
- Describe to your counselor green marketing and sustainable business practices.
- Explain how ethics plays a role in business decision making.
- Discuss the differences between operating a brick-and-mortar business versus an online business.
- Describe the role of the U.S. Department of Labor. Discuss two of the following topics with your counselor:
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Choose a business and research how it applies each of the primary areas of business (accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and management). Share what you have learned with your counselor.
- Do ONE of the following:
- Choose one of the primary areas of business and identify three career opportunities. Select one and research the education, training, and experience required for this career. Discuss this with your counselor and explain why this interests you.
- Select a business leader and interview this individual to learn more about his or her company and career path. Discuss the role ethics plays in making business decisions. Share what you have learned with your counselor.
Download an optional American Business Worksheet that may help organize progress towards completion of this merit badge.
Hints for American Business Merit Badge
- Reading the merit badge pamphlet provides most of the knowledge and a good counselor can help the scout expand what they've learned to apply it towards building a solid personal business ethic.
- When choosing a business to research, it's much more interesting to use a small, local company that will take time to discuss their practices with the scout.
- The business leader that the scout interviews can be the same person they use to research a company.
Terminology for American Business Merit Badge
- Features of Free Enterprise systems include Economic Freedom, Competition, Equal Opportunity, Binding Contracts, Property Rights, and Profit Motive.
- Freedom is the right to exercise choices in thought, speech, and actions. License is an expressed permission to use something.
- The five primary areas of business are: accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and management
- Types of insurance for business: general liability, product liability, professional liability, commercial property, workers' compensation, business interruption, cyber
Resources for American Business Merit Badge
Read a short explanation of the Free Enteprise System, also known as the Free Market.
The Industrial Revolution introduced more efficient manufacturing by machines.
Labor Unions have historically represented works in the U.S. with the AFL-CIO and Change to Win Federation being two key examples.
Read how three types of financial statements work together to manage a company.
Insurance is important to protect a company and its assets. Read about Types of Insurance and their uses.
Minimizing impact of operations on the world environment is a goal of a Sustainable Business model.
There are many pros and cons on both sides of running either a brick-n-mortar or online business model.
Read about the role of the U.S. Dept of Labor.
- Better Investing
- Council of Better Business Bureaus
- Junior Achievement Student Center
- National Endowment for Financial Education
- Young Money
Some other merit badges in the Business theme include: American Labor, Communication, Entrepreneurship, and Salesmanship. You might check them out if you found the American Business merit badge interesting.
Dec 02, 2020 - Jordan
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