August 02, 2012

Jeanette Grider

Area Teens Bring Smart Business Ideas to the Table

When asked about what they did on their summer vacation, 28 area teens can say they spent five days learning how to turn their creative ideas into tangible business plans and discovering what could be a part of their future.

The 2012 Allsup Summer Entrepreneurship Academy took place Monday-Friday, July 23-27, at the John Cook School of Business.

Offered each summer since 2005, the week offers high school students (income freshmen to outgoing seniors) an opportunity to learn entrepreneurial concepts and principles - including how to start their own businesses.

The goal of the Academy is to help students develop a business concept. Topics include defining entrepreneurship, opportunity recognition, characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, income and financial statements, return on investments, inventions and product development, financing strategy, cost of goods sold, marketing and advertising, competitive analysis and professional presentation methods.

Students are divided into teams and work together to develop their ideas into presentations that are judged by local entrepreneurs. Cash prizes are awarded to the winning teams along with $25 honorable mentions to all participants. First place went to the team that developed "S3," an online platform that offers babysitters an easy-to-use, parent-friendly solution for all of their scheduling and logistics needs.

The Academy uses experiential learning, problem solving and case studies to educate young people on how to start and operate a business while instilling an understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset.

The class also provides interaction with entrepreneurs and local professionals to develop possible mentor relationships and internship opportunities.

Using program materials developed by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), the Allsup Academy is designed to spark an interest in entrepreneurship in this age group.

Tim Hayden, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at SLU's John Cook School of Business, said the week exceeded all expectations.

"The Allsup Summer Entrepreneurship Academy was created to give high school students a peek into what it is to be an entrepreneur," Hayden said.

"The 28 students from around the bi-state area took it and ran with it. The ideas and opportunities they developed in one week amazed our teachers, our guest speakers, our entrepreneurship mentors and our judges. We are proud to consider them part of Saint Louis University's family of future entrepreneurs."

Meet the Winning Teams

1st Place ($100 each for "S3")

  • Curtis Biesterfeldt: Senior, Principia High School
  • Victor Haddock: Sophomore, DeSmet High School
  • Abigail Ohlms: Junior, St. Josephs Academy

2nd Place ($75 each for "No-Slant)

  • Max Jaffe: Junior, Kirkwood High School
  • Brian Luczak: Sophomore, SLU High School
  • Harry O'Gorman: Junior, Crossroads College Prep

3rd Place ( $50 each for " Veggie Stop")

  • Mark Benson: Senior, Lake Forest High School
  • Sara Kaiman: Senior, Eureka High School
  • Ravon Lingard: Junior, MICDS
  • Jordan Richardson: Senior, McKinley Classical Leadership Academy

Meet the Judges

  • Tanya Hamilton, Independent Youth
  • Mike Medart, Medart Inc.
  • Robin Rath, Coolfire Media
  • Ron Roy, Wines That Rock

The program is sponsored by SLU's Center for Entrepreneurship and Allsup, Inc. with additional support from the Albrecht Family Foundation and the Coleman Foundation.

Learn more about the Center for Entrepreneurship
Learn more about the Allsup Summer Entrepreneurship Academy

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