Creating a winning business plan was the “holy grail” for 38 middle school students in the 2011 State Farm Summer Business Camp, “Business Quest,” July 11-22nd. The worthy knights? Austen George, Megan Starling, Madison McGill, and Kory Cooke.
These four middle school students were the winners of the 2011 State Farm Summer Business Camp business plan competition for their ice cream shop business idea, “Swirly Top.” Each student received a Gpad as their grand prize.
Funded by State Farm and administered by the Business Education Partnership Foundation, the camp teaches students how to become entrepreneurs by creating their own business concepts in teams. At the end of the two weeks, the students present their team business plans to a panel of judges, who questioned and evaluated the potential viability of the proposals.
Like all great quests, the students learned that business is not for the faint of heart.
“The middle school students learn in two weeks what many college students take one to two years to learn in their courses,” said BEP executive director Lee Rennick. “Because of all the information we give them, they have to process quickly and figure out how to use the information to write up a viable business plan.”
Students were joined on their quest by business leaders all over Rutherford County. Volunteers from State Farm led workshops on public speaking, finances, and computer literacy. Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Middle Tennessee Medical Center, Barnes and Noble, World Outreach Church, Old Fort Park Golf Club, MidSouth Bank, Nissan, State Farm, and other businesses coached students on creating financial, marketing and human resource plans, as well as developing a code of ethics and mission and vision statements. Students also toured a variety of establishments to learn how business models differed in management, production, and service methods.
“It’s a strenuous time for the students, but it is remarkable what they can accomplish,” said Rennick. “We are grateful to State Farm and the business community for making this camp possible. Their investment is preparing students to be future business leaders in a powerful way.”
For more information on this and the BEP's other programs, visit the BEP website at www.rutherfordbep.org/businesscamp.
Picture Caption: State Farm Summer Business Camp business plan winners stand with BEP executive director Lee Rennick and State Farm VP Jeff Shay. Students pictured left-right: Madison McGill, Megan Starling, Kory Cooke, and Austen George.