Girl Scouts rake in the cookie dough

From the April 2014 issue of Columbus CEO

Girl Scout Cookies are big business, and the local Girl Scouts of America Ohio’s Heartland Council takes advantage of the annual cookie sale to send scouts to Cookie U, a program for burgeoning “cookie CEOs.”

The program is built to “motivate and encourage our girls to not only be successful with the cookie program, but also learn skills that can benefit them in their future careers,” says Jessica Tinnell, product program manager for the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council.

Girl Scouts earn business badges for taking part in the annual cookie sale, but Cookie U takes business skill development to the next level. Now in its third year, 36 local scouts in grades four through 12 are part of the Cookie U class of 2014. The three-part, five-month program began in December with a session titled “Business Operations, Budgeting and Your Cookie Business.” Local business women spoke with scouts during the first and second program sessions. The women helped scouts develop their own business plans for presentation at a graduation ceremony to be held at the Grange Audubon Center on April 24.

Last year, the 16,425 Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland cookie program sold 2.5 million packages of cookies worth $8.75 million. Nationwide, U.S. News & World Report reported the Girl Scouts sold $786 million worth of cookies in 2011-2012.

One-hundred percent of Girl Scout Cookie proceeds go to local councils and troops. The Girl Scouts of America national council receives royalties based on gross national sales from two licensed bakers, ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers, and that adds up to a lot of dough, too.