Business Skills Camp a huge success

Participants of the 11th annual ELITE Business Skills Camp.

The Small Business Development Center at Shawnee Community College recently held the 11th annual ELITE Business Skills Camp July 8-11, ELITE (Educate, Lead, and Inspire Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs) is an entrepreneur camp hosted on the main campus of Shawnee College for students in grades 7, 8 and 9.

The camp is coordinated jointly by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Shawnee Community College, University of Illinois Extension, and the Southernmost Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone. Each year campers attend presentations by local leaders who share their wisdom for obtaining business success. This year's speakers were Susan Odum, Extension Educator, Community Development, University of Illinois Extension, Tim Frizell, Speech and Theatre Instructor at Shawnee Community College, and Curt Jones, Creator of Dippin' Dots and Forty Below Joe.

The Elite Camp also includes a competition where students utilize the skills they learn during the week to develop a business plan and create their own marketing presentation to promote their business. Campers compete for one of 3 $100 prizes with winners selected for the best overall business plan, most creative business plan, and, the camp Shining Star Award. The Shining Star Award is given to the camper who demonstrated the best overall attitude and for providing assistance/encouragement to fellow campers. The winners for this years camp were:

  • Best Overall Business Plan: Jayda Wright of Ullin
  • Most Creative Business Plan: Blake Schneider of Dongola
  • Shining Star: Felicity Logan-Davis of Karnak

In addition to the presentations and competition portion of the camp, attendees also participate in a field trip where they received hands-on business experience at several locally owned businesses. Special thanks to this years business sponsors: Anna Baking Company, Kiki's Coffee House, 326 Productions, Jus 10's Frozen Yogurt and Jordo's Pizzeria in Anna.

Speaking on behalf of the camp Brett Whitnel, Interim Director for the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Shawnee Community College, commented "We are grateful for another successful camp this year. Our participating organizations, including the in-kind sponsorship from many local businesses in the district, truly help us to prepare our future business leaders in southernmost Illinois."

For more information about Elite Camp or the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Shawnee College, contact Brett Whitnel at 618-634-3213.

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