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No. 1 in supply chain

Broad camp gives young Michigan minds a jump-start into the entrepreneurial mindset

By Katie Gallagher, Aaryn Richard
Wednesday, March 13, 2024

What happens when a leading entrepreneurship program and a revitalized multicultural business program collaborate? A multifaceted, intentional pathway for young entrepreneurs to discover their potential and be set up for success is born.

The Entrepreneur Leadership High School Camp, founded in 2022 by Michigan State University’s Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Multicultural Business Programs, brings young entrepreneurs to the Broad College of Business for an immersive entrepreneurship experience and provides a venue for them to pursue their educational and entrepreneurial dreams.

Purpose-driven curriculum

“We wanted to design a camp that empowers young people to take action and create new ventures and ideas that have an impact on the state of Michigan and beyond,” Ken Szymusiak, managing director of academic programs for the Burgess Institute, said. The Burgess Institute’s collaboration with MBP and its mission to build a legacy of diverse, distinguished, successful business leaders means attracting students from across the state of Michigan to come to our land-grant university.

“We want to make MSU more accessible to these untapped communities in our own state, such as Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Flint, with the hope of creating more business leaders for the future,” Marquis Taylor, program coordinator for MBP, said.

The camp, which is for rising high school sophomores and juniors — and is free to participants — commits to access and inclusion in its programming. “We have made a conscious effort to reach out and connect with entrepreneurs and business leaders from various backgrounds and identities. We want students to understand that there are many ‘faces of business,’ beyond the scope of what is traditionally seen,” Taylor said.

The Entrepreneur Leadership High School Camp is facilitated by a group of accomplished business leaders who share their expertise with the participants through a series of workshops and seminars on various topics, including marketing strategies, financial planning, supply chain and networking. This multifaceted approach to learning allows students to develop an understanding of what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset and set them up for success in their future endeavors.

“The most important thing we focus on is teaching content that has immediate applicability while also setting the stage for students to develop innovative and creative mindsets,” Szymusiak said.

“When students can learn and master the skills of the entrepreneurial mindset, they can be set up for success sooner,” Desiree Melfi Bozzo, director of student success and advising for the Burgess Institute, said. “They learn creative thinking and problem solving their way through anything that comes their way.”

Rewarding alumni involvement: Chapman Family Foundation

Throughout the three-day program, participants take part in workshops, seminars and discussions with seasoned entrepreneurs. Last year, leaders such as Lauren Aitch-Guerrant, Tamira Chapman and Joshua Southern, as well as Broad alumni, including Todd Duckett, Ben Rathbun and Tyrell Slappey, spoke to the participants.

“Alumni involvement in the camp is imperative because we want students to understand where an MSU degree and education can take them,” Taylor said.

Furthermore, students dedicate themselves to designing a business plan, refining it with their teammates and ending the camp with a presentation of their ideas to a panel of judges. The camp’s schedule is packed with exhilarating experiences — and the participants leave equipped with the skills, relationships and knowledge they acquire during the camp. They do all these things while living on campus, seeing firsthand what it’s like to live, learn and grow at MSU.

Chapman (B.A. Supply Chain Management ’01), president and CEO of Storehouse In A Box, LLC, in particular was impressed with the camp’s value after serving as a keynote speaker and case competition judge. After sharing her entrepreneurial journey with students and observing the camp’s impact, she felt the camp aligned with her family’s philanthropic goals, which are centered around entrepreneurship and promoting diversity and inclusion. Since then, the Chapman Family Foundation has committed to the Presenting Sponsor role over the next three years, ensuring the camp’s continued success and impact on young entrepreneurs.

“Being a Spartan family, we’re proud to back the entrepreneurship camp through the Chapman Family Foundation,” Chapman said. “MSU opened doors for us, and now we want to do the same for young people in metro Detroit. Our mission is to empower youth, providing them with the tools and opportunities to shape their future and contribute positively to their communities. This camp embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and is crucial for future generations. Our passion for philanthropy is driven by a belief in actionable change, and through initiatives like these, we are able to foster a culture of growth, learning and giving back.”

The entrepreneurship camp served as my first stepping stone into the professional world. Because of the opportunities the camp provided, I felt more confident going into college applications, as well as arriving on campus, having a level of familiarity and feeling more supported throughout my first year at MSU.
Anjali Issac, supply chain management student

From camper to MSU student

Now in its third year, the program has seen a matriculation of campers to the Broad College. Anjali Issac, a participant in the inaugural year of the camp, was admitted to MSU as a supply chain management major and is actively involved across the college and MBP.

Issac said, “The entrepreneurship camp helped me build confidence in myself as a future business professional as well as exposed me to various business practices. The camp experience truly solidified my decision to apply to MSU and the Broad College of Business. It showed me that here I would find not only incredible opportunities but also essential support as I go through the program.”

The camp gives students a head start in relationship building at MSU and learning about Broad and business. “It is amazing for networking and connecting with peers that have similar interests to your own,” Issac said.

The best is yet to come

With applications and participants more than doubling from year one to year two, the Entrepreneur Leadership High School Camp is expected to grow even more in year three. The camp is refining programming as well, expanding the experience by an additional day. Students can expect a variety of exercises and guest speakers that will help them hone their skills. They can also anticipate acquiring valuable competencies and expertise that will serve them well in their future endeavors.

“The entrepreneurship camp served as my first stepping stone into the professional world,” said Isaac. “Because of the opportunities the camp provided, I felt more confident going into college applications, as well as arriving on campus, having a level of familiarity and feeling more supported throughout my first year at MSU.”

More information about the Entrepreneur Leadership High School Camp is available via MBP. The 2024 camp will take place June 24–27. Registration is open through April 2024 via this Qualtrics form.

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