This past summer, Lakeville South High School student Jaden Brown received a sponsorship from ​​New Market Bank to participate in a virtual business, career, and financial literacy camp, Minnesota Business Venture.

The program is developed and organized by BestPrep, a Minnesota nonprofit dedicated to preparing students to be college-prepared, work-ready, and career-bound.

MBV, which just celebrated its 40th year, is typically a week-long, in-person camp but transitioned to a four-day virtual platform this summer. A total of 218 high school students from 87 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. Students in each company were mentored and guided throughout the week by professionals from local companies.

Virtual activities included guest keynote speakers, scavenger hunts, and mock interviews. Each day ended with a Q&A session with local celebrities, including musical artist Dessa, Minnesota Twins first base coach Tommy Watkins, and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

BestPrep’s Minnesota Business Venture has more than 11,000 program alumni. MBV is sponsored by many other companies and organizations including 3M, The Allstate Foundation, Arby’s Foundation & Arby’s Restaurant Group, Wells Fargo, the University of St. Thomas Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, and College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship.

The next MBV sessions will be in person July 11-15 at the University of St. Thomas and July 25-29 at St. John’s University. Learn more at

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