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Youth Build Strong Relationships and Innovative Businesses during Entrepreneurship Investigation Camp

The positive energy of youth entrepreneurs rippled through Valley County and beyond during the 2015 Entrepreneurship Investigation Camp on June 8th through June 12th.  Learn, Inspire, Create & Innovate are the core themes of the camp. Youth explore these concepts through developing relationships with peers, local entrepreneurs, educators and business experts from across the state.

Campers kicked off the empowering week by delving into product design and development and cost analysis/pricing strategies with Dr. Andy Zimbroff from the University of Nebraska. Veteran campers had the special privilege of visiting KNLV Radio to speak on Party Line Part 2 with JJ Johnny James to promote the camp and their businesses.IMG_2549

On Tuesday morning, campers explored strategies for effective financial record keeping and marketing with local professionals, Kristina Foth, Emily Reilly, Dean Fahrenholz and Jennifer Remmereid. During the afternoon, campers enjoyed inspiring business tours in Arcadia including Urban Chic, KM Interiors, Griess Automotive and Blue Skye Gourmet Cupcakes and Trotter, Inc. Campers were also treated to a refreshing break at the Arcadia Splash Pad to end the day by the Trotter Family.

Wednesday began with business plan interviews with local bankers from First National Bank, Pathway Bank and BankFirst. Then campers welcomed Dr. Tom Field, Director of the UNL Engler Agribusiness & Entrepreneurship program and numerous UNL students to camp for sessions investigating what community means and how to fulfill a need within one’s community. Youth also learned about the importance of excellent customer service from Gaylord Boilesen owner of NAPA Parts Bin and social entrepreneurship from Susan Schauer, co-founder of the Heartland Youth Ranch.

On Thursday, youth connected with numerous local entrepreneurs for tours and round table discussions on best practices within rural businesses and the abundant opportunities to live and work in Valley County. The local entrepreneurs participating in this session included Joel Kokes, Kelly Kreger, Trent Proskocil, Josh Zangger, Ace VanDeWalle and Carrie David. Campers also discovered the importance of character development and school/community leadership with Mark Hagge, Ord Jr./Sr. High Principal. Additionally, Gregg Christensen, Entrepreneurship and Career Education Specialist with the Nebraska Department of Education inspired youth to utilize their unique strengths and talents to achieve greater success within their businesses.

Friday morning, youth learned about opportunities to create dynamic business partnerships with Trevor Lee, VCED Executive Director and Teresa Lange co-owner of CinTrese Boutique. Then campers prepared for the Market Place Event showcase on the courthouse square. Supportive family, business people and friends joined the excitement by shopping at the campers’ creative business booths. The day closed with an evaluation and profit/loss determination session conducted by Dana Cole accountants and Trevor Lee.

The powerful results of this year’s camp involved eighteen youth campers honing their entrepreneurial business aspirations and skills to collectively earn over $1,800.00 in profits during the Market Place Event.  Over 30 local and national entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators and professional advisors gave their time and talents to mentor the youth entrepreneurs and inspire them with innovative examples of entrepreneurs living their dreams and positively impacting our world while enjoying a rich quality of life in rural Nebraska.

The Valley County Entrepreneurship Investigation Camp was launched five years ago in an effort to inspire youth to use their talents and passions to develop innovative, sustainable businesses and establish meaningful connections with community business leaders. Each year youth are challenged to develop their leadership, communication and entrepreneurial skills through creating business ventures and connecting with dynamic leaders during camp. As the camp has evolved so has the engagement of our youth within the community!2015 market place 2

Entrepreneurship Investigation Camp is brought to Valley County through a progressive partnership including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Valley County Community Foundation Fund (VCCFF), Valley County Economic Development Board, Ord Area Chamber of Commerce, Ord FBLA and the Valley County business community. Sponsoring partners also work closely with school systems to promote entrepreneurial leadership concepts and activities. Each partner brings a unique dynamic to the camp that contributes to the empowerment of our youth entrepreneurs and the vitality of Valley County. Kayla Hinrichs, Nebraska Extension Educator, Dahn Hagge, HomeTown Competitiveness Coordinator and Jennifer Remmereid, Ord High School Educator and FBLA Coach coordinate the camp. Through the Geweke Youth Endowment, the VCCFF contributes $2,000.00 annually to support entrepreneurship camp activities.

Excitedly, many of the youth entrepreneurs market their businesses beyond the camp by participating in the Ord Farmers Market, Nebraska State Fair ESI Market Place, Youth Entrepreneurship Showcase and community craft fairs throughout the year to expand their business skills, product development and customer base. Through these proactive activities our youth are developing sustainable businesses and strong relationships with people which in turn create an avenue for pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams as adults. With the creation of strong connections to their hometowns, we hope these youth will seize upon the abundant opportunities to pursue post-secondary education and return to the Valley County to live as community leaders and work as successful business owners and professionals.

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