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Students hone their entrepreneurial skills

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“I was really impressed with the super opportunity for young people to get the entrepreneurial spirit,” noted Anne Mello of the Argo Foundation, one of the judges of this year’s Biz Camp projects. “The whole process was valuable.”

The two, week-long camps for middle and high school students saw a total of 24 youngsters develop ideas into action plans for business success under the guidance of Joe Mahoney, Executive Director of the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative. Assisting him as student mentors were four former participants, Elizabeth Blankendal, Cheresa Lamaire, Will Broughton and Shannon Burchall.

The youngsters were required to create a plan for a new business, whether a service or a product, and pitch their idea to four judges at the end of the week.

“During the week, students develop their own business idea by learning about opportunity recognition, pricing, marketing and many other aspects of running a company,” explained Mr Mahoney.

“The curriculum is from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship,” he continued, “a global organisation that inspires young people to become business-savvy and independent. Students are provided with a business plan template, and after learning the concepts, they fill in the specific information for their business. They also hear from local entrepreneurs and lending partners.”

To reinforce the concept of “time is money”, the campers earned “Biz Bucks” in denominations of $5, $10 and $25 for completing homework (yes, homework!), answering questions and participating actively during the daily sessions. Monies earned could then be used to bid on an array of items digital camera, tote bags, ball caps at an auction at the end of the week.

“Every year this programme provides a great opportunity for young people to turn their passions into potential business models,” stated John Narraway of Lyter Sports Apparel, another of the four judges. “With this experience hopefully a few of them will be Bermuda’s next generation of successful entrepreneurs.”

The other two judges were Kristin White, Director of Raleigh International and one of the camp presenters, and Jamillah Lodge of the Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation, who observed, “It was an awesome opportunity to see what the future of Bermudian entrepreneurship looks like.”

The most successful project of the first week was that of Rodneyka Browne-Evans-Freeman, who presented an idea for photographic services including special events and weddings and eventually a studio.

“I learnt a lot,” the fourteen-year-old CedarBridge Academy student stated. “It was definitely a learning experience.”

“I had a hard time with numbers,” she admitted, “but by the time you do the presentation, you’re confident. They build you up during the week and make you learn everything you need to know to start your own business.”

The second week’s winner was Brianna Raymond with her new twist on braided friendship bracelets.

For Brianna, who lives in the States and has been visiting with her father’s family during the summer, the challenge was “coming up with a plan because you’ve got to think like an entrepreneur. It was definitely a learning experience. Just in this week I learned a lot about being an entrepreneur.”

But the week-long camp wasn’t all business. “It was fun,” Brianna added. “Definitely different. I hadn’t done anything like this before.”

Top Three BizPlans from Week One: 1st Rodneyka Brown-Evans Freeman, Laire Photography; 2nd Jazmine Outterbridge, Dui; 3rd Kayla Williams, Creative Minds.

Top Three BizPlans from Week Two: 1st Breanna Raymond, Bracelets for Love; 2nd Jamila Eve-Cann, Fabulous Creations; 3rd Kyle James Thomson, StickFiqure Spy Camera Kit.

Rising stars: 2011 Biz Camp winners Breanna Raymond (left) and Rodneyka Browne-Evans-Freeman won cell phones donated by CellOne for their first-place proposals for new Bermuda businesses.
Young entrepreneurs: participants in the second of the week-long Biz Camps held at the Berkeley Institute this summer enjoyed learning everything they needed to know to start their own business.

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Published August 04, 2011 at 7:00 am (Updated August 03, 2011 at 8:38 pm)

Students hone their entrepreneurial skills

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