Entrepreneurship Cultivation in the Midwest: SBTDC and University host Business Camp

Over 70 entrepreneurs, industry professionals, mentors, presenters, and judges, 1 university campus, 1 week, and 20 new ideas created by young hopeful entrepreneurs. The University of Central Missouri and the Small Business Technology Development Center in Warrensburg, Missouri teamed together to change the way 20 local Missouri youth think, act, and view their future with the Entrepreneurship or Bust Business Camp.

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It is seldom when young people get an opportunity to do something. I mean a physical, life-changing something. However, 20 Missouri students between the ages of 12 and 18 were given such an opportunity by the SBTDC and the University of Central Missouri in June of 2014. This program, sponsored by the Blaine Whitworth Fund walked these students through the process of getting an idea for a business, learning the aspects surrounding entrepreneurship (marketing, accounting, legal structure, and so on) in order to pitch their idea to 3 rounds of judging.


Each day of the 5 day camp (running Monday morning – Friday evening) built upon the last. Taking these young minds from no idea to pitch your idea. Intermittently woven into camp were games, activities, presenters, mentoring, and lesson plans. Subjected to a rigorous program all 20 students soared above and beyond expectations on Friday during presentations.

camp photo

The three presentation rounds explored the three most common types of atmospheres you will face as an entrepreneur:

  • Shark Tank: In a private room, no notes, no slide presentations or visuals. These students were tasked to convince three judges by no means other than their passion, vocal presentation, and answers to any questions.
  • Expo Presentation: Allowed to design a tri-fold, marketing materials, and business cards amongst other presentation materials, this round allowed students the chance to interact with general public and judges on presenting their ideas in a hectic community-networking setting.
  • Public Pitch Competition: Given the opportunity to use a PowerPoint presentation these students gave 4 minute presentations encompassing 10 strict criteria to fully detail their idea to a judging panel and live audience. These students also faced the challenge of accepting open-questioning from judges and audience.

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The competition concluded on Friday, June 27th, 2014 with one winner deemed for each competitive round. The winner of the Shark Tank round was a 14 year-old from Warrensburg, MO. Lauren Snare gathered a near perfect score across 3 judges. Lauren’s idea was to provide a database of referable babysitters and train/background check them to ensure the best quality sitter. Winning the second round, Madison Green, also points shy of a perfect score in this round comes from Warrensburg as well and won the judges over with her booth displaying her homemade dog treats business. Lastly, closing out the third round, Cassandra Marks, 14 years old from Warrensburg stole the judge’s hearts and blew off their socks with her hyper detail-oriented homemade custom cupcakes business concept.

The program is set to be an annual weeklong camp where students explore entrepreneurship while staying on campus, eating on site, and learning from a mass amount of local professionals, entrepreneurs, and business counselors.


Brandon Banks (@brandonbanksbiz), a serial entrepreneur began his entrepreneurial adventure at a young age and currently travels to educate students on the possibility of seizing the day and moving toward their dreams of being their own boss. Together in collaboration with his network Banks disrupts common traditional barriers and exposes that through proper support anyone can be an entrepreneur regardless of where they are at in life. Check out more of Banks’ writing here: http://www.brandonbanksbiz.wordpress.com


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