'Greater than the sum of the parts': Entrepreneurship Camp, Business Challenge held simultaneously, successfully at DSUWhile the two have been held simultaneously for years, this was the first year Entrepreneurship Camp and Business Challenge were held on the Dickinson State University campus together and the results were fantastic, organizers said.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
While the two have been held simultaneously for years, this was the first year Entrepreneurship Camp and Business Challenge were held on the Dickinson State University campus together and the results were fantastic, organizers said.
“The combination of the two — what’s the phrase — greater than the sum of the parts, much greater than the sum of the parts,” said Barry Striegel, program director for the Bismarck-based North Dakota Youth Entrepreneurship Education Program.
Business Challenge has been a 30-plus year program held at DSU for high school and college students and adults. Entrepreneurship Camp is a newcomer, starting in 2006, Striegel said.
In its 35th year, Business Challenge upholds the same principles of business it always had, but tries to put a new spin on it each year, coordinator Sheri Monroe said.
It’s exciting to have the younger children on campus with the teens, she said.
“The kids can utilize our services a little bit more and get more involved,” Monroe said. “That way it’s a smoother transition to say ‘Hey, when I get older, I can do this.”
Entrepreneurship Camp, which is held all over the state, has been hosted at the Strom Center in the past, Striegel said.
“We don’t know why we haven’t done this before,” he said. “We were dumb, now we’re smart.”
By co-locating the camps, the groups of elementary and middle schoolers and the older high school and college students can learn from each other, he said.
“The older entrepreneurs here, the high school and college kids, were very impressed with what they saw the elementary and middle school students doing,” Striegel said. “And then my elementary and middle school students appreciated the praise, appreciated the insights they got, but also had an opportunity to see what awaits them when they’re older, that they can move on to that next step, which is Business Challenge.”
The young entrepreneurs ran a town all week, while the Business Challenge teens advised the elementary and middle school students and purchased goods created by the younger group with money earned for their advisement, in addition to regular Business Challenge activities.
This gave the younger kids a chance to practice their customer services skills, Striegel said.
Alicia Ferderer and Tyrel Senger, both of Dickinson, have attended Entrepreneurship Camp since it began in 2006, but were too old this year for that program, which takes 9- to 13-year-olds, and too young for Business Challenge, which accepts those who have finished their freshman year of high school through graduated seniors. They were hired by Striegel to help with the camp and plan to do Business Challenge next year.
“It’s probably the funnest thing I do all summer,” Ferderer said.
The combination of the two programs creates a unique learning experience for all ages, Striegel said.
“I don’t know of anything like it in the country, frankly,” he said. “Where on one college campus there are elementary through college young entrepreneurs all at one place for a week, all learning about entrepreneurship and economics.”
North Dakota Youth Entrepreneurship Education Program works with North Dakota State University Extension Service and its subsidiary, 4-H Club, the local chamber of commerce or similar organization and the local college campus, if applicable, Striegel said.
One of the focuses of the program is to make young people in North Dakota realize and make their own opportunities in their hometowns, he said.
“We need to revitalize, we just want to keep them here in North Dakota,” Striegel said.
Business Challenge began in 1977 as the brainchild of former DSU President Albert Watrel, according to the Business Challenge website. Watrel enlisted the help of Harold Schafer, founder of the Gold Seal Co., maker of Mr. Bubble, and father of modern Medora.
The partnership between the two programs will most likely continue and grow in the following years after the success this week.
“This week has been much more remarkable than I even thought it would be,” Striegel said. “And I had some pretty high expectations.”