CU Business Division hosts First Annual Business Camp
by Rachel Hammond and Jaleesa Stanford
Most high school students spend their summer working part-time jobs and spending time with friends. However, last week, 11 high school students set their summer activities aside to come to Cornerstone University's first annual business camp, Entrepreneurship in a Global Marketplace, which focused on entrepreneurship and international business.
Campers were guided through their three-day experience with Cornerstone's Business Division faculty members, Chris Loiselle and Rachel Hammond. They designed the curriculum to give the students a "taste of the business program" with topics including entrepreneurship, business plan development, team building, international business, faith integration and business communication. Kathy Sindorf, a professor from the Communications and Media Studies Division, added her expertise with a session on presentation skills.
"Many of our college students pursue entrepreneurial activities through Enactus, the MWest Challenge and in-class Idea Pitch competitions, so focusing on entrepreneurship was a natural fit," Hammond explained.
In addition to learning on campus, campers participated in two field experiences. They visited the Steelcase Innovation and Learning Center, where their New Business Innovation group, led by Jeremy Bergwerff (B.A. '04), facilitated a session on lean startup business models and how they work with entrepreneurs. In addition, the students visited Start Garden and Grand Valley State University's Van Andel Global Trade Center to gain multiple perspectives on the entrepreneurship process in a global environment.
Throughout the week, campers worked on teams to create their own business plan that incorporated an international business element. The teams used the lean startup canvas to launch their ideas and built out their plans with the coaching assistance of CU faculty members.
On Friday afternoon, each team presented their ideas to a panel of judges made up of CU faculty and staff along with Payton Mills, a member of Steelcase's New Business Innovation team, and competed for prizes. The winning team was an idea called Smart Mug, an insulated mug with an internal thermostat, and second place was Costa Frutas, a smoothie shop that incorporated specialty fruit from Costa Rica.
One camper stated, "The business plan competition was very fun! It was amazing to see the businesses we could build in just three days!"
The students walked away from the experience with not only new knowledge about what it takes to start your own business, but with new friends as well.
Baylee DeVos, one of the campers, stated, "This has been an amazing camp, and I'm so glad I came. In just three days, I feel like we went from strangers to friends. I learned so much about creating a business, and presentation skills in general."