This past summer, six students from Eden Prairie High School and Benilde-St. Margaret’s School received sponsorships to participate in a virtual business, career and financial literacy camp, e-Minnesota Business Venture.
The program is developed and organized by BestPrep, a Minnesota nonprofit that aims to prepare students to be college-prepared, work-ready and career-bound. The camp is typically a week-long, in-person camp but transitioned to a three-day virtual platform due to the pandemic. More than 330 high school students from 93 schools attended and were selected to participate at one of two sessions in the month of July.
Students worked in small teams or “companies” to create a fictitious product and business plan that was presented at the end of the session. While the proposals were theoretical, the ideas presented were meant to be a realistic representation of how companies run their businesses. A few product ideas this year included a machine to clean out lake debris, a face mask specifically designed for athletes and an app that transposes audio music to sheet music. Professionals helped mentor and guide students.
Virtual activities included guest keynote speakers, scavenger hunts and mock interviews. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, singer-songwriter PaviElle, professional soccer player Tony Sanneh and WCCO-TV anchor Amelia Santaniello provided motivational messages.
“At a time when so many summer opportunities were canceled, we wanted to be sure we had an educational, but also really fun, program for our students,” Program Manager Janae Olinger said.
The students who were sponsored were Ishaan Gupta, Julia Mlodozyniec, Dhruv Chowdhary and Will Jakala of Eden Prairie High School along with Ivy Keruo and Gaby Pascoe from Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
Registration for next year’s camp will open in January.