By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than a hundred high school students just wrapped up a three-day business camp. In its 39th year, Camp Enterprise is sponsored by the Edina and Edina Morningside rotary clubs. It’s a way for students from Minnesota and western Wisconsin to develop entrepreneurial skills outside of the classroom.

At Camp Iduhapi in Loretto, students worked together to develop a business plan.

“So we’re creating a plan to pitch to venture capitalists to hopefully earn $5 million to start up a company,” Rogers High School sophomore Jack Lenz said.

It’s a mock company, but the lessons are real.

“Team building, teamwork, planning out, brain storming and problem solving, I think, too — and thinking about other options and thinking outside the box,” New Richmond, WI High School senior Ruth Domingo said.

That’s part of the goal behind Camp Enterprise. The annual 3-day camp is designed to teach students entrepreneurial skills, learn about leadership and business ethics.

“We’re very passionate about kids and helping them and giving back to the community. So it’s our belief that if we can prepare these kids to enter the world thinking bigger and having a business background that there’s a lot of transferable concept in that,” Stefan Smith, Chair of Camp Enterprise and Edina Rotary Club member said.

Roughly 80 Rotarians from around the state volunteer their time. And business leaders in the community serve as mentors.

“The kids pull it together and that’s what’s so much fun is to watch them. The anxiety and anxiousness they have going into it — but when they perform and when they’re done, both the relief and the sense of accomplishment is very rewarding,” mentor Randy Sparling said.

In the end, it’s all about the students. Arming them with new tools to build on and maybe even inspire becoming an entrepreneur.

“I want to start a business, possibly with my friend,” Lenz said. “He’s also from Rogers. We both want to create something. We want to not sit behind a desk but create a company for ourselves.”

Each year five students are selected to receive a thousand dollar scholarship.

Applications for next year’s Camp Enterprise open in May. Camp comes at no cost to the student. Local rotaries sponsor the $375 fee. Click here to learn more.

Jennifer Mayerle