American Business Merit Badge Pamphlet American Business Merit Badge

American Business

Requirements were REVISED effective January 1, 2019.

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  1. Do the following:
    1. Explain four features of the free enterprise system in the United States. Tell its benefits and responsibilities. Describe the difference between freedom and license. Tell how the Scout Oath and Law apply to business and free enterprise.
    2. Describe the Industrial Revolution. Tell and tell about the major developments that marked the start of the modern industrial era in the United States. Tell about five Discuss three people who had a great influence on business or industry in the United States. Tell and describe what each did.
    3. Identify and describe to your counselor the five primary areas of business.
    4. Explain the history of labor unions in the United Slates and the importance of labor unions and employers working together. Identify two major labor unions currently in existence.
    5. Discuss with your counselor how business impacts the local, national, and global economy.
  2. Do the following:
    1. Visit a bank or credit union. Talk with one of the officers or staff. Chart the organization of the financial institution. Show its relationship with other banks, business and industry.
      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.
    2. Explain how changes in interest rates, taxes, and government spending affect the flow of money into or out of business and industry.
      c. Describe to your counselor green marketing and sustainable business practices.
    3. d. Explain how a sole proprietorship or partnership gets its capital. Discuss and explain four ways a corporation gets its obtains capital.
      e. Explain the place of profit in business.
    4. f. Name five kinds of insurance useful to business. Describe their purposes.
  3. Do the following:
    1. Pick two or more stocks from the financial pages of a newspaper. Request the annual report or prospectus from one of the companies by writing, or visit its website (with your parent’s permission) to view the annual report online. Explain how a company’s annual report and prospectus can be used to help you manage your investments.
      Explain the place of profit in business.
    2. Pretend to have bought $1,000 worth of the stocks from the company you wrote to in requirement 3a. Explain how you "bought" the stocks. Tell why you decided to "buy" stock in this company. Keep a weekly record for three months of the market value of your stocks. Show any dividends declared.
      Describe to your counselor green marketing and sustainable business practices.
    3. Explain how ethics plays a role in business decision making.
    4. Discuss the differences between operating a brick-and-mortar business versus an online business.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    Describe the role of the U.S. Department of Labor. Discuss two of the following topics with your counselor:
    1. Draw an organizational chart of a typical central labor council.
      Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
    2. Describe automation, union shop, open shop, collective-bargaining agreements, shop steward, business agent, and union counselor.
      Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
    3. Explain the part played by four federal or state agencies in labor relations.
      Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    4. Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  5. Run a small business involving a product or service for at least three months. First find out the need for it. For example: a newspaper route, lawn mowing, sales of things you have made or grown. Keep records showing the costs, income, and profit or loss.
    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.
    a. How service, friendliness, hard work, and salesmanship helped build your business.
    b, The benefits you and others received because you were in business.
    Comparable 4-H, FFA, or Junior Achievement projects may be used for requirement 5.
  6. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Make an oral presentation to your Scout troop about an e-commerce company. Tell about the benefits and pitfalls of doing business online, and explain the differences between a retailer and an e-commerce company. In your presentation, explain the similarities a retailer and an e-commerce company might share.
      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.
    2. Choose three products from your loc al grocery store or mall and tell your merit badge counselor how the packaging could be improved upon so that it has less impact on the environment.
      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.
      c. Gather information from news sources and books about a current business leader. Write a two-page biography about this person or make a short presentation to your counselor. Focus on how this person became a successful business leader.

BSA Advancement ID#: 15
Requirements last updated in: 2019
Pamphlet Publication Number: 35850
Pamphlet Stock (SKU) Number: 35850
Pamphlet Revision Date: 2013

Worksheets for use in working on these requirements: Format
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Page updated on: November 18, 2021

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