Camp Enterprise encourages young entrepreneurs

Mar. 17—HUDSON — Camp Enterprise, a three-day immersive experience for 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students to learn entrepreneurship, leadership, and business ethics, took place at the HUB Station Business Center on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, March 14, 15, and 16.

Camp Enterprise is hosted by Impact Rotary Club of the Foothills, CCC&TI Small Business Center, the Town of Hudson and Caldwell County Schools. It's a three-day boot camp to encourage and inspire students to begin thinking about the potential to start their own business. It's designed to introduce students to entrepreneurship and ethical business practices. The experience is life changing.

At Camp Enterprise, students have the opportunity to:

— Build new friendships

— Participate in team-building activities

— Develop leadership skills

— Enjoy motivational presentations from a series of keynote speakers

— Participate in panel discussions with business specialists

— Discuss ethical business practices

— Learn the basic skills needed to write a business plan

— Pitch a business concept to a panel of venture capitalists

— Negotiate the terms of an investment

— Network with business professionals and students from other schools as all high schools from the county participate

— Learn about the core values of Rotary, including "Service Above Self" and the Four-Way Test

— Learn about the Small Business Center and our services

— Learn social skills during a business reception

— Learn from professional activities like mock-up job interviews, how to talk to a banker/financial institution, etc.

At the core of Camp Enterprise is an in-depth entrepreneurial exercise. Students are placed on teams and assigned to develop a hypothetical product or innovation. Each team is tasked with developing a product concept, brand, marketing strategy, and terms of investment. The culmination of Camp Enterprise involves each team making a "pitch" to a panel of venture capitalists regarding a potential investment in their company. The winning team of five students win $500 scholarships each to Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute. Other sponsors like Google donated Google laptops to each student.

Most importantly, students walk away after three days with excitement about their future, potential of owning their own business and a boost of confidence that changes their lives. The greatest compliment received was from a mother saying her daughter's confidence was a 3 on a scale of 1-10, but Camp Enterprise rose her confidence to a 10, so it's definitely a life-changing experience.