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 high school students.
Dozens of business plans such as this were created at BestPrep’s 33rd annual Minnesota Business Venture. While the business plans and monetary investment were imaginary, the ideas presented would give today’s entrepreneurs a run for their money.
Minnesota Business Venture 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. Sponsors numbering 144 donated funds to support the students’ attendance.
The 3M company and Bernick Family Foundation made this opportunity available for Lexi Dant and Elliott Kleinschmidt, students at North Branch Area High School.
“You will make friends for a lifetime, and hear from many people who have great lessons and stories to share,” Dant said.
According to Jason Bernick, “We are pleased to offer this opportunity to students in our area. BestPrep is a wonderful organization that provides career preparation for our future workforce. Minnesota Business Venture lays the foundation for self sufficiency and future success, and we are glad to play a role in providing the experience.”
Students heard from a gamut of speakers representing companies including Allstate, General Mills, Minnesota Timberwolves and Padilla Speer Beardsley. The speakers covered a wide range of topics such as 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.
“Minnesota Business Venture is a unique opportunity for high school students to gain skills that will help them now and in their future,” program manager Janae Olinger 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 the work world.”
In addition to MBV, BestPrep offers five other innovative programs: Classroom Plus, eMentors, Financial Matters, The Stock Market Game and the Technology Integration Workshop.
For more information about BestPrep, MBV 2013 or MBV 2014, visit www.bestprep.org or call 763-398-0090.