Imagine yourself making a presentation to a panel of investors, asking for a loan for an innovative new business idea that you came up with in four days with a team of people you had never met before. Sound challenging? That’s exactly what more than 300 students were tasked with this summer during their week at BestPrep’s Minnesota Business Venture.
Edina Senior High students Ravneet Anand, Bindju Podaralla, and Alli Walburg attended the business venture this summer to develop their business and leadership skills. The opportunity was made possible through sponsorship from Crown Bank, Wings Financial Credit Union and Traditional Capital Bank.
Students split into small groups called a “company” and were mentored throughout the week by local business professionals from companies such as Allianz Life, Ecolab, Securian Financial and Travelers. Student “companies” spent the week developing a business plan proposal summarizing the marketing, finance and operations practices for their fictitious product or service.
While the business plans and monetary investment were imaginary, the ideas presented would give today’s entrepreneurs a run for their money. A few product ideas included contact lenses for individuals with color blindness, a GPS sticker to track lost objects, a water purifying sponge and virtual reality for kids in hospitals.
The business venture is a business and career skills camp held each summer in partnership with the Herberger Business School at St. Cloud State University and the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at St. John’s University. Some 324 students representing 100 schools spent a week of their summer preparing for life after high school, developing workplace skills and improving their financial literacy skills.
During the week, students also got to learn from a variety of Minnesota business professionals and entrepreneurs to help them prepare. Throughout the program, more than 170 individuals came to the business venture to share experiences and business insights with the future workforce by volunteering as breakout session presenters, mock interviewers, financial advisors and more. Speakers represented companies such as 3M, Allstate, General Mills, Pearson’s Candy, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The speakers covered a wide range of topics such as managing personal finance, experiences in entrepreneurship, business ethics and building one’s personal brand.
“MBV is a unique opportunity for high school students to gain skills that will help them now and in their future?” Minnesota Business Venture Program Manager Amanda Labo said. “Going through a mock interview, learning about finances, working in a diverse team, communicating with adults and peers, and speaking in public are all skills that help prepare students for success in school and future jobs.”