How to turn £5 into £500 in four weeks

by: November 9, 2015

Hi, my name is Nicole, I’m 12 years old and this is how my friends and I are planning to turn £5 into £500.

how to turn £5 into £500

It all started with our school project/competition, raising money for MicroLoan, a charity that supports women in Zambia and Malawi (see It provides loans and business training so that they can build a business to work their way out of poverty and to provide for their own families. That business might be a bakery in their village or maybe a shop selling accessories and shoes. The aim of the school project is to create a successful business ourselves, that makes good profits; profits that will be donated to MicroLoan and enough to win the competition at school!

The rules are:

  • You can have up to five people in your team
  • Everything has to be bought and sold with the money from the business
  • Charity donations don’t count
  • Your starting money is £5.

Apart from that you can do just about anything you want – I quote my teacher, ‘As long as it’s legal and sticks to the rules then you can do it.’

Business plan

In the style of the women in Africa we decided to create a business plan (with help from my Dad) and record our results in a spreadsheet, putting in formulas that we learnt at school, creating an impressive, functional document. We worked out that in the four week period we could have multiple trading cycles, using the money we make from the first trading cycle to buy items for the second trading cycle and so on. We also decided to sell items that we could add value to, as our time is free. For example, buying ingredients and baking cakes would have a good profit margin.

First trading cycle

We spoke to the people who run our local Post Office and they were happy to let us set up a stall to sell cakes there on a Saturday morning. But before we could do that, we needed enough money to buy plenty of ingredients so we decided to start with some small items that we could sell to our friends and family – bags of popcorn (buying big bags and repacking them), fairy cakes and bracelets (which we made ourselves).

That turned our starting money of £5 into £20, which was enough to buy all the cake ingredients. We made a poster for the Post Office advertising our cake sale a week in advance, and then had to bake the cakes of course.

The cake sale day was dry and sunny and various groups of cyclists passed by, some buying our sale pitch, some not. We told everyone about the charity, what its aim is and about the project/competition at school. We also had a very exciting few minutes when Antony Worrall Thompson bought some of our cakes! By the end of the morning, we’d sold out, and now had a total of £137.

With that money we went on to buy items to make soap and more popcorn. At school every Thursday we now have the opportunity to sell items at break and at lunchtime. This Thursday – the first time we have done it – we were late getting to the hall and got a pitch space towards the back of the hall unfortunately, but we still managed to sell enough things to raise a little bit more towards our next venture. We won’t be late next week!

Pre-selling is good for cashflow

My mum’s also given us the great idea of pre-selling mince pies for Christmas. That means we get sales and the money in advance. Dad says that strictly we shouldn’t ‘recognise the sale before the goods are delivered’, but he also says ‘cash is king’ and ‘rules are made for bending’ so I think we’ll be ok with this. More importantly, the great thing about this is that it gives us more money to invest in other items for sale. 

So far we’re just over a week in and have made £175. Not bad! 2½ more weeks to turn that into £500…


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About Author

Nicole goes to The Abbey School in Reading (UK). Her passions in life are animals and dancing. And school of course which is great. She likes many aspects of business but she's planning to be a vet.

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