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Alberta youth encouraged to develop entrepreneurial skills at summer camp

By: Kristen Spruit

  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 06:00 am

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Leadership, innovation and self-motivation are some of the traits of successful entrepreneurs, and Community Futures is aiming to develop those traits among Alberta’s youth.

For the 17th year, the Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp will be taking place from Aug. 17 to 23 to teach youth with an eye for business about the ins-and-outs of being your own boss.

“More than ever, people in our society don’t stay in their career life-long and quite often find the best career is to create a career and business for themselves,” said General Manager of Community Futures Entre-Corp Sean Blewett.

The 60 youth, between the ages of 13 and 15, chosen to participate in the camp will be divided into teams, and over the course of the week-long camp, will learn the process of developing a business plan, designing and marketing a product, and presenting the finished product to the public.

“On the final day of the camp, the students will try to sell their products to their parents,” said Blewett, adding any revenues made will be used to pay for the cost of developing the product and paying off any loans taken-on to create the product.

“At the end, they have the opportunity to walk home with a little extra money in their pocket,” he added.

Blewett said in past years, students who participated created a wide variety of products, from calendars, wrist bands, to memorabilia and wallets.

“The kids learn lots of transferable skills, learn about working in groups, learn to generate innovative idea and work them through, and come out with entrepreneurial skills that are not often taught in school,” he said, adding the camp leaders also aim to make the experience a lot of fun.

“It’s not all work, work, work. The teens also develop friendships,” said Blewett.

Each year, 10 youth who attended the camp in previous years are invited to come back to the camp in a leadership role to mentor to the new group coming in, said Blewett, which gives them the opportunity to develop a new set of skills.

The camp is free thanks to Provincial grants, funds provided by Community Futures and sponsors from local businesses.

Blewett said it’s important the camp is free so the opportunity is available to all youth with an interest in developing entrepreneurial skills.

To be considered for the camp, youth are required to write an essay explaining why they would be an ideal candidate for the camp, what recent leadership roles they’ve assumed, and their idea for their own business.

Five youth applicants will be selected from the Community Futures Centre West region to participate, which includes Rocky View County, Bragg Creek, Cochrane, Crossfield and Airdrie. The application deadline is March 16.

For more information or to apply, visit www.cfcwest.com


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