Today marked the second day of virtual Minnesota Business Venture (eMBV)! After a kickoff speech given by eMBV Program Manager Janae Olinger, students had the pleasure of hearing from keynote speaker Enzo Vinholi, an innovative and tech-savvy business student from the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas. Vinholi spoke about the journey in starting his own company, Like It Was Yesterday, LLC, which uses virtual reality technology to help senior citizens relive past memories and experiences. The idea for Vinholi’s business was sparked when he combined his passion for video games with his desire to help people like his own grandmother, who was unable to travel due to illness. “I knew the potential virtual reality had,” Vinholi said, “but I thought, ‘how could we use this to solve real world problems?’”. After sharing his story, Vinholi advised students that active listening, a curious mindset, and courage are necessary as an entrepreneur. He left the students with some final words of wisdom: “Make sure you pursue the things you really love… I promise it’s worth the time thinking about… you will be amazed where your passions can take you.”
Next, students split into their companies to meet and discuss their business plan. Each company has the mission of designing a product, organizing the components of their potential business, and presenting this plan to a group of “investors” at the end of eMBV. Using creativity and collaboration, students are working together throughout the week to complete this mission.
After a short break, students dispersed into breakout sessions to learn more about financial skills. These breakout sessions covered a variety of financial topics, including the basics of credit, money management, paying for college, and the decision-making process that comes with saving or spending. We were fortunate to be educated by representatives from U.S. Bank, Wings Financial Credit Union, Raymond James, and the University of St. Thomas.
All eMBV participants then regrouped for a fun activity hosted by Akshay Vankayala, the eMBV emcee. Students were encouraged to go outside and create eMBV chalk art on their driveways and sidewalks. We were happy to see so many photo submissions of bright and creative eMBV drawings!
Later, the students came together to hear the second keynote speech of the day from Nathan Dungan of Share Save Spend. Dungan urged students to have open conversations about money, values, and spending habits with their families. He spoke about the importance of mindfulness when it comes to spending, as well as the fine line that divides a “need” from a “want”. Dungan advised students to analyze their money habits, remain conscientious about spending and saving, and learn from money mistakes. “The choices we make with our money can change the world,” Dungan concluded.
The students dispersed into their companies once again to continue work on their business plans. Each company includes three subcommittees: Finance, Marketing, and Operations. These smaller groups work to create a more thorough and detailed business plan for their company.
We were fortunate to have another celebrity call-in today! David Clark, the President and CEO of Cereal Partners Worldwide, General Mills, shared the story of how he gradually paved his way to success. Clark’s message embodied the idea of determination and “how to turn ‘no’ into ‘not yet’, and then ultimately into ‘yes’”. He urged students to find alternative solutions, rather than accept defeat, by asking themselves, “What would it take?” Clark finished his presentation with some final advice: “If you are not a firm believer… it’s never going to get past ‘no’… believe in yourself, believe in your ideas, and if you don’t accept ‘no’, that’s a step that will lead to many steps.”
Students finished off their day at eMBV by participating in mock interviews. Students had the opportunity to present their resume, do a one-on-one mock interview with a local professional, and receive feedback about their performance and responses. The main purpose of this activity was to prepare students for future job interviews, while giving them a chance to speak with real-life professionals.
What an awesome second day of eMBV! We are looking forward to our final day of camp tomorrow!