MBV 2019 St. Thomas Day 5: Youth Empowerment Day

The pressure is on! Presentation day has finally arrived. Students have been working all week on their business plans for this moment. Tension is high, and everybody is excited. To help the students loosen up before presenting their business plan, Shyrah Perkins, Speaker and Facilitator for WE, urged students to volunteer, organize their own events, and join clubs. In addition to this, Perkins wanted to empower the them by spreading the message to not let age stop them from taking charge.

Next, students attended Breakout Sessions about Societal Impact. The sessions were presented by Jennifer Anderson from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Paul Nelson from Allstate Insurance, Becca Seidel from Habitat for Humanity, Jon Wells from AmeriCorps & the University of Minnesota, and Tim Yantos from Feed My Starving Children. The students learned the importance of giving back to their community and spreading awareness on important issues in our world today.

After the Breakout Session, it was time to begin presentations! Companies were given 15 minutes to present their business plans with a five-minute follow up period for questions. Lindsey Roemeling, CEO of Company J, stated, “At first, my company was nervous about presenting in front of business professionals, but I had confidence in them, and I knew they would do amazing!” Company J presented a product called “StikStik,” an organic lip balm, in which the container is made up of biodegradable bamboo. The lip balm is made of organic material such as beeswax and essential oils. Additionally, the lip balm contains a seed at the bottom, which can be planted after the product is used up. After presenting their business plan, the companies requested that the judges give them a loan. For example, Company A requested a $160,00 investment. The judges were so impressed by the business plan and matched the request for 20% equity. In the end, all 13 groups were challenged to use the knowledge they learned in camp and apply it to their business plan.

After the business plan presentations, the students were motivated by Jesse Ross from Mr. Jesse Ross LLC & The Minneapolis Foundation. Ross talked about his childhood and the lessons he learned growing up. Along with this, Ross talked about making every second count and encouraged students to take action and achieve their dreams.

Lastly, students enjoyed the rest of the night playing Minute to Win It!, a fun activity where students performed small, hilarious challenges in one minute in order to win a prize. After this, the students spent the rest of their evening dancing the night away and celebrating their accomplishments! After a full week of working hard, they got to spend the last night at St. Thomas making memories and having fun with new friends!