AHS students look to the future by preparing business plan at conference

Published 10:22 am Monday, October 26, 2015

Austin High School students Anthony Mendez-Morales and Diego Hernandez attended the BestPrep’s 35th annual Minnesota Business Venture (MBV) program. -- Photo provided

Austin High School students Anthony Mendez-Morales and Diego Hernandez attended the BestPrep’s 35th annual Minnesota Business Venture (MBV) program. — Photo provided

Two Austin High School students spent a week preparing a business plan that was praised by investors.

Anthony Mendez-Morales and Diego Hernandez from AHS attended the BestPrep’s 35th annual Minnesota Business Venture (MBV) program.

MBV is a week-long business and career skills camp held in July in partnership with the Herberger Business School at St. Cloud State University and the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at St. John’s University. Over 340 students representing 113 schools spent a week of their summer preparing for life after high school, learning how to start their own business, and improving their financial literacy skills.

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“MBV is a unique opportunity for high school students to gain skills that will help them now and in their future. Going through a mock interview, learning about finances, working in a diverse teams, communicating with adults and peers, and speaking in public area all skills that help prepare students for success in school and future jobs,” MBV Program Manager Amanda Labo said in a press release.

The business plan was to develop Style On Wheels, a mobile hair salon that would travel to senior living facilities and offer free haircuts to homeless individuals. The plan was praised by a panel of industry investors. The proposal for Style On Wheels summarized the marketing, finance, and operations practices for the fictitious business — and was crafted in one week by a group of unfamiliar high school students. Dozens of business plans such as this were created at the event.

Students heard from a gamut of speakers representing companies such as Allstate, General Mills, Cargill and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The speakers covered a wide range of topics such as managing personal finance, experiences in entrepreneurship, stories of business ethics, and how to present and communicate one’s personal brand.

The experience was made possible by CHS Inc. and the KAHR Family Foundation, and more than 160 Minnesota entrepreneurs and business professionals, who volunteered to share their experiences and business insights with the future workforce, and by sponsors who donated funds to support students’ attendance.

Local business professionals, known as Resident Business Leaders, served as mentors to the students throughout the program. These volunteers, from companies such as Allianz Life, Ecolab, Securian, Thrivent Financial, Travelers and Xcel Energy, lived on campus for the week and guided a group of students through the creation of a business plan and proposal.

BestPrep’s MBV has more than 11,000 program alumni. BestPrep offers five other innovative programs: Classroom Plus, eMentors, Financial Matters, The Stock Market Game TM, and the Technology Integration Workshop.

For more information about BestPrep or MBV, please visit www.bestprep.org.