Osseo, Maple Grove students spend a week preparing for life after high school
An innovative business plan to develop a voice activated pillow that connects to people’s smart phone was praised by a panel of industry investors and was crafted in just one week by a group of high school students. Dozens of business plans such as this were created at BestPrep’s 34th annual Minnesota Business Venture (MBV).
While the business plans and monetary investment were imaginary, the ideas presented would give today’s entrepreneurs a run for their money. Boston Scientific, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation, Great River Energy, U.S. Bancorp Foundation and Deluxe Corporation Foundation sponsored students from Maple Grove Junior High School, Maple Grove Senior High School and Osseo Senior High School to attend this unique opportunity. Each student received a sponsorship of at least $1,000 to cover their room and board, food and activities fees.
MBV is a week-long business and career skills camp held in July in partnership with the Herberger Business School at St. Cloud State University and the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at St. John’s University. Area residents Akhil Gupta, Rhea Khattoi, Sairam Venkat, Sophia Aigbogun and Bernitha Asare joined over 300 students from across the state to spend a week of their summer preparing for life after high school, learning how to start their own business, and improving their financial literacy skills.
More than 170 Minnesota entrepreneurs and business professionals shared their experiences and business insights with the future workforce. Students heard from a variety of speakers representing companies such as 3M, Allstate, General Mills, Cargill and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The speakers covered a wide range of topics such as managing personal finance, entrepreneurship, business ethics, and developing one’s personal brand.
Local business professionals, known as Resident Business Leaders, served as mentors to the students throughout the program. These volunteers, from companies such as Allianz Life, Ecolab, Securian, Thrivent Financial, Travelers and Xcel Energy, lived on campus for the week and guided a group, or “company,” of students through the creation of a business plan and proposal.
BestPrep’s Minnesota Business Venture has more than 11,000 program alumni. “MBV is a unique opportunity for high school students to gain skills that will help them now and in their future. Going through a mock interview, learning about finances, working in diverse teams, communicating with adults and peers, and speaking in public area all skills that help prepare students for success in school and future jobs,” said MBV Program Manager Janae Olinger.