Sprott summer camp fosters “bizness” savvy in high school students

While many local high school students have spent this summer working for someone else, the 29 Biz Camp participants learned how to start their own businesses.

Biz Camp, organized by Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, gives high school students the opportunity to develop business and entrepreneurial skills. Working with business leaders, teachers and successful young entrepreneurs, campers create and market a mini-business and then sell their end product for profit.

Sprott offered Biz Camp for the first time in the summer of 2006 and this year it ran from July 9 to 27. Although the program is relatively new, it is already proving to be very popular—a week before the deadline for registration, the camp was full and had a waiting list.

Instructor Maria Dupont structured the three-week program to ensure that participants could successfully develop their businesses a short period of time. The students had full days: they met with local entrepreneurs and members of Engineers Without Borders, participated in team building exercises such as rock climbing and finished the program by creating a product, along with a business and marketing plan, to sell at Billings Bridge Plaza.

Dupont, a teacher with the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board, was chosen to instruct this program because of her expertise with different kinds of students and family-based businesses. She thinks that Biz Camp’s hands-on approach and selling exercise are effective ways for students to develop new skills.

“Experiential learning is a successful approach for students who struggle with theoretical thinking,” she explains. “Students can play with concepts learned in class and apply these ideas directly to the business world.”

Hamid Ibrahim, who has just finished Grade 11 at Ottawa Islamic School, has always been interested in the business world. He was attracted to the program because he wants to get involved in international development.

“In my home country of Somalia, people don’t have a lot. Little things like exporting tomato paste could help these people immensely. I would like to be involved in business for reasons like this.”

Ibrahim worked with two other students, Adam Tani and Mustafa Adam, to create a miniputt game as part of their selling exercise. Customers paid one dollar to putt—if they sunk a ball in the hole, they won a sleeve of golf balls and a brownie.

When asked what kind of profit they hoped to make, Ibrahim laughed, “We’ll be happy if we break even!”

Although his group generated $19 in sales from their mini-putt business, they finished with a deficit of $17.77 after accounting for all production costs. But Biz Camp coordinator Christina Callingham’s report was positive: the three students were very personable and their customers seemed to enjoy the game.

More information about Biz Camp is available at www.sprott.carleton.ca/bizcamp.

This entry was written by Stephanie_Coffey and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: , . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media: http://carletonnow.carleton.ca/?p=4283

Be a part of the Carleton Now community

Carleton Now strives to be an inclusive, relevant and informative publication focused on building and fostering an engaged campus community. You can be a part of our community by: sharing or voting for this article (below), joining in the conversation, or by sending a submission/letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.

Current issue