Minnesota Business Venture: Dare to Dream Day

After MBV’s kick-off and introduction, students heard from Stephen Weatherly, a Minnesota Vikings football player. In 2016, Stephen Weatherly was selected by the Minnesota Vikings to play in the defensive end, and linebacker positions. Not only does Weatherly play for the Minnesota Vikings, but when he’s off the field you can find him doing puzzles, playing chess, solving math problems, and even blowing glass. The versatility of interests and talents is something each of us is capable of- we just have to find our spark. 

One piece of advice he had for students was to “get good at asking questions, and we will learn along the way.” Weatherly tells students to “leave people and things better than you found them.” It’s clear that this message is important to him, considering the launch of the Stephen Weatherly Foundation, which encourages students to step out of their comfort zone and grow. Weatherly left students with the opportunity to ask questions about his journey on daring to dream, and wished all the best to those working toward reaching their goals.


After the kickoff keynote speech, students had their first opportunity to work with their student CEO-lead companies.  Accompanied by a professional Resident Business Leader (RBL), students and their CEO design a product or service and present their business model to a group of Business Panel judges.  The companies help students develop their entrepreneurial skills and experience different roles within a company, from marketing to operations.

Another daily part of MBV is the breakout session.  Each day, breakout sessions are held to teach students about a variety of life and career skills.  Today, the focus was on soft skills.  The topics held today were Mindfulness, Teamwork, Overcoming, and Staying Organized & Getting Motivated.  MBV students had the opportunity to listen to speakers as well as participate in a Q&A, giving great insight into valuable life and workplace knowledge.

The second keynote speaker for the day was Abenezer Ayana, an Entrepreneur and Software Architect with BraillEazy and Fendesha.  With a recent degree in computer science from the University St. Thomas, Ayana is an incoming software architect analyst at Accenture.  At only 21 years old, he has developed two startup companies: BraillEazy and Fendesha.  Ayana imparted on students an enthusiasm for asking questions and using every resource possible to learn.  His story of coming to the U.S. from Ethiopia and making his own success so early on is a huge inspiration for students.

Following the second keynote speech, student emcee Khadra lead the students through activities, photo challenges, and gave camper shoutouts, where fellow campers give encouragement and acknowledgement to others for their work.  It’s amazing how students are already getting so much done in their companies and recognizing their peers for their work!


The first day of MBV ended on an extremely positive note with a camp tradition: Ask an Influencer!  Students participate in a 15-minute Q&A with people in their community and across the world making a difference in their field.  Today, we got the pleasure of hearing from money maven Nicole Middendorf of Prosperwell Financial.  With such a successful career in the financial services industry, it was incredible to hear that it was hardly her first choice for a career.  Middendorf talked about how important it is to learn from your mistakes, live your life to the fullest, and as far as sage money advice for the young: ‘don’t get into debt!’  

There was a lot to take in on this first day of MBV, but we can’t wait to see what else is in store over the next three days!