Entrepreneurship Summer Camp teaches the basics of business and awards a TROY scholarship to the competition winner


Six high school students spent a week at IDEA Bank’s first Entrepreneurship Summer Camp to learn the basics of business planning. The event ended with a business plan competition, with the winner receiving a $2,000 scholarship to Troy University.

Co-sponsored with the Small Business Development Center at the University of Troy and the Wiregrass Resource Conservation and Development Councilthe goal of the camp was to prepare participants to enter the market, said Juliana Bolivar, director of TROY’s SBDC.

“Entrepreneurship is not limited to certain ages. Often young people have great ideas and just need the tools to develop their idea into a solid and functional business,” she said. “That’s where we want to step in and help them develop the skills they need to be successful.

Students learned the principles of business planning, financial planning, law, marketing and brand development. The camp also covered entrepreneurship and confidence, pitching an idea, sales pitches and professional communications. Professionals of the Sorrell College of Businessthe SBDC, Troy Bank & Trust and local small business owners provided hands-on instruction throughout the week.

On Monday, July 18, students competed in a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition in front of a diverse panel of expert judges. idea bank Manager Lynne George said the introduction of the competition aspect encouraged them to pursue their business ideas.

“It gets a little more serious and they go a little deeper into what they’re trying to communicate because they’re trying to make a good impression and gain something,” she said. “On the other hand, this camp aims to support their entrepreneurial goals. By providing a scholarship in college, it simply gives someone the opportunity to further their education and get closer to pursuing entrepreneurship in their real life. It was impressive and encouraging to see them join.

Emily Stokes, 15, of Highland Home, Ala. won the scholarship with his project for Blackbird Paper. Blackbird Paper aims to provide eco-friendly, handcrafted paper products for use in invitations, scrapbooking materials, stationery, business cards and more.

Her idea was born in 2018 while living in Sri Lanka after watching workers at an elephant orphanage create paper made from the fibers found in elephant waste. After hearing about the entrepreneurship camp, she realized that her papermaking hobby could become a business.

The first-ever Entrepreneurship Summer Camp took place July 11-15. The pitch competition took place on Monday, July 18.

“Seeing that was really inspiring,” she said. “I made paper as a hobby, but when the entrepreneurship camp started, I realized there was so much more I could do. Even if my business isn’t successful, the skills I get from it will help me in life.

As well as once starting her business, Stokes said she became interested in cyber security. Whether she chooses to explore entrepreneurship or security, she has already decided that her home of study will be TROY.

“I was planning on coming to TROY anyway, so the fact that I got this scholarship is amazing,” she said. “It will help me a lot with the cost of going to college.”

Other business plans included SuperKidz, a non-profit youth program, Short n Sweet, a candy food truck, Lavish Lexis Wellness, a line of natural skincare accessories and products, Urban Bags, a range of handbags designed to conceal self-defense. items, and Clover Threads, a line of beanies designed to create cultural impact through positive messaging.

SuperKidz creator Raymond McGoley, 17, of Enterprise, Alabama, said his main goal for the week was to build professional relationships and better understand the “why” behind his plan.

“I’m not just here for the scholarship, but to meet different people and make connections. It’s not about numbers, it’s about getting people to know what I’m trying to do and helping my community,” he said. “I learned to examine myself and find my why, why I’m doing this, and how to stay true to what it’s all about.”

The Dean of the College of Business, Dr Judson Edwards, was on the jury and said the hard work the students put in throughout the week and in creating their plans proved their determination to succeed.

“The students who participated in the entrepreneurship camp were quite impressive, and the competition was fierce among them in ‘the Tank’ experience,” he said. “This camp only further demonstrates the determination of young people in our region to succeed in life and in business, and we are proud that Sorrell College of Business can support their development.

Two camp galleries can be found online at the links below, and a competition day gallery can be viewed here.

Gallery 1

Gallery 2


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