The day has arrived and everyone was nervous for there last company meeting before their final business plan presentations. The day started with a keynote presentation from speaker Joe Keeley of College Nannies and Tutors. He discussed what it’s like to start a business from just an idea. He started his presentation by telling us a story about a family putting out an ad looking for someone to watch their kids. He decided he would watch their kids and make some “burrito money” as he called it. One day, he thought of creating a network to connect athletic college students to families and he could make some money. He went to the Entrepreneurship Department at St. Thomas and told them his idea. They suggested he create a business model, a logo, and get some press for the new business. So, he sketched out a logo and drafted a letter promoting the business to the Star Tribune. He then connected his first twelve college students to twelve families. Nearing graduation, Joe didn’t think he could actually continue with this business. After interviewing at some companies around town, he realized he should keep pushing toward his dream and take on College Nannies and Tutors full time. Joe shared his steps for entrepreneurship with the students. It starts with an idea, then comes concept development, the “fake it till you make it” attitude, customer validation, and planning for growth. He ended off his statement with lessons we should follow: begin with why, scalability- what is right for you, create long term values; and use the three M’s which are money, market, and me. When Joe was finished each company went into their own break out sessions to talk about Paying for There Lifestyles and budgeting. Then it was time for business presentations!
There were four presentation rooms with 4-5 panel members, or “venture capitalists”, who would decide whether each company received their loan. Each team had 15 minutes to make their presentation, 5 minutes of questions, and a 5 minute break for the judges to discuss. During the break, companies would congratulate each other on their presentations and the Residents Business Leaders and CEO’s would give a pep talk. They would then head back in the room to get their verdict!
Some examples of products created were shoes that would charge your phone or a water bottle that would heat or cool itself. So many good and creative ideas! Next up, we had keynote speaker Adrienne Diercks, of Project SUCCESS, talk about changing the world, one SUCCESS at a time. She starts off her presentation by telling us a story about her childhood. She said she was a kid who always loved creating her own little businesses. She would spend all her money on post it notes, tape, and business cards. One day, she decided to start a business that was called Stretch. Her slogan was “We stretch our ability to you”. She ended up making one hundred business cards. Her mom pointed out that there were two T’s in Stretch, so Adrienne decided to shut down the business. Adrienne then went on saying that she really wanted to figure out her purpose in life and she wanted to impact the world. She thought of the Project Success idea twenty-two years ago. Her journey began when she had gone to school at Wadia in Los Angeles. Every 2 weeks starting senior year of College, her and her friend met up to plan their future. At the end of senior year, she went on an adventure around the world to places like Israel and Egypt. After she got back she created framework for her business with workshops and theatre. She started at North High as a pilot theatre. Teachers thought this plan wouldn’t work but she I invited 200 people to come to the Guthrie. The first night in 1993, 178 students out of 200 came, as did 80 family members. The pilot ran for a year and then expanded to do a workshop every day along with theatre. It has since grown to serve 12,000 students with a budget of 3 million and 12 staff members. Adrienne is authentic and passionate. Out of her whole journey, the student stories she has encountered are what have impacted her life the most. Students left feeling inspired and motivated.
After all the challenges of the week were completed, it was time to relax and celebrate. All companies gathered in the auditorium after dinner for Minute to Win It! The night was filled with some awesome games like the ones on the tv show Minute to Win It. Basically every game you have a minute to win which ever odd game you play. The program ended with students up on stage dancing to the wobble and then it was time to head over to the dance and have some fun! What a great way to end the week!