Archived Story

Ashby student goes to business camp [UPDATED]

Published 4:31am Monday, August 19, 2013 Updated 6:33am Monday, August 19, 2013

A cutting-edge business plan outlining a make-your-own-cupcake store in the Mall of America was praised by a panel of industry investors. The proposal for “CupMake” summarized marketing, finances, and operations practices – and it was crafted in one week by a group of unfamiliar high school students. Dozens of business plans such as this were created at BestPrep’s 33rd 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.

“MBV was a rewarding experience that truly taught me many lessons about business and entrepreneurship,” said Allard LaRue, Ashby High School student.

MBV is a week-long business and career skills camp held in partnership with the Herberger Business School at St. Cloud State University and the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at St. John’s University. Nearly 350 students representing 95 schools spent a week of their summer preparing for life after high school, learning how to start their own business, and improving their financial literacy skills.

The experience was made possible by more than 150 Minnesota entrepreneurs and business professionals, who volunteered to share their experiences and business insights with the future workforce, and by 144 generous sponsors who donated funds to support students’ attendance. First National Bank Deerwood and CHS Inc. made the opportunity available for LaRue.

Students heard from a gamut of speakers representing companies such as: Allstate, General Mills, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Padilla Speer Beardsley. The speakers covered a wide range of topics such managing personal finance, experiences in entrepreneurship, how to present and communicate one’s best self, and stories of business ethics.

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, Cargill, Ecolab, Securian, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Travelers, U.S. Bank 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. Program Manager Janae Olinger said, “Minnesota Business Venture is a unique opportunity for high school students to gain skills that will help them now and in their future.  For more information about BestPrep, MBV 2013 or MBV 2014, please visit the website at or call 763-398-0090.

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