Six high school students spent a week at IDEA Bank’s first Entrepreneurship Summer Camp to learn the basics of business planning. The event culminated in a business plan competition where the winner received a $ 2,000 scholarship to Troy University.
Supported by Troy University’s Small Business Development Center and the Wiregrass Resource Conservation and Development Council, the camp’s goal is to prepare participants to enter the market, said Juliana Bolivar, Director of TROY’s SBDC.
“Entrepreneurship is not limited to certain ages. Often, young people have a lot of ideas and just need the tools to develop their idea into a solid, viable business,” he said. “That’s it. where we want to act and help them develop the necessary skills to succeed. “
Students learn the principles of business planning, financial planning, law, marketing and brand development. The camp also touched on entrepreneurial mindset and confidence, idea placement, sales pitches and professional communication. Professionals from Sorrell College of Business, SBDC, Troy Bank & Trust and local small business owners provide hands-on instruction throughout the week.
On Monday, July 18 the students participated in a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition with a diverse panel of expert judges. IDEA Bank Director Lynne George said the introduction of the competition aspect encouraged them to dig deeper and deeper into their business ideas.
“It gets a little more serious, and they go a little bit deeper into what they’re trying to communicate because they’re trying to make an impression and win something,” he said. “On the other hand, this camp is intended to support their business objectives. By awarding a University scholarship, that only gives a person the opportunity to continue their education and take a step further. close to pursuing entrepreneurship in their real life. It’s amazing and inspiring to see them buy. “
Emily Stokes, 15, from Highland Home, Ala won a scholarship to her plan for Blackbird Paper. Blackbird Paper aims to provide eco-friendly, handcrafted paper products to use for invitations, as scrapbooking materials, stationery, business cards and more.
His idea was born in 2018 while living in Sri Lanka after seeing employees of an elephant orphanage making paper made from fibers found in elephant waste. After hearing about Entrepreneurship Camp, she realized that her hobby of paper making could be business.
“It was very encouraging to see that,” he said. “I was doing a role as a hobby, but when Entrepreneurship Camp came along I realized I could do a lot more. Even if my business isn’t successful, the skills I draw from it can help me in life.
In addition to getting his business off the ground one day, Stokes said he has developed an interest in cyber security. Whether he chooses to pursue entrepreneurship or security, he has already decided that his college home will be TROY.
“I was planning to go to TROY, so the fact that I got this scholarship was amazing,” he said. “It will help me a lot with the cost of going to college.”
Other business plans include SuperKidz, a non-profit program for youth, Short n Sweet, a candy food truck, Lavish Lexis Wellness, a line of accessories and natural health products. leather care, Urban Bags, a line of handbags designed to hide self -defense. items, and Clover Threads, a line of beanies intended to make a cultural impact through a positive message.
SuperKidz creator Raymond McGoley, 17, from Enterprise, Ala said his main goal for the week was to make professional connections and better understand the “why” behind his plan.
“I’m not just here for the scholarship, but to meet different people and make connections. It’s not about numbers, it’s about getting what I’m trying to do there and helping my community, ”he said. “I learned how to examine myself and find out my why, why I did it and how to stay true to what it was.”
The Dean of the College of Business Dr. Judson Edwards served on the panel of judges and said the work put in by the students throughout the week and in making their plans proves their determination to succeed.
“The students who participated in the Entrepreneurship Camp were absolutely impressive, and the competition was intense with their‘ Tank ’experience,” he said. “This camp further demonstrates the determination of young people in our area to succeed in life and business, and we are proud that Sorrell College of Business can support their development.”
Two galleries from the camp can be found online at the links below, and a gallery from the day of the competition can be viewed here.