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Entrepreneurship Camp – “Exploring the Possibilities of Entrepreneurship” Teaches Innovative Thinking

Twenty-three campers, community leaders, educators, parents and business owners from Brantley County took part in the week-long activities that comprised the second annual Entrepreneurship Camp.

Participants enjoyed presentations by several knowledgeable speakers and took part in numerous innovative learning opportunities. Among the guest speakers was Mr. Scott Purvis, Regional Representative of the Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs. Scott presented a session on Leadership Development and Team Building, and Mr. Ray Snow, Regional Project Manager-Entrepreneurs and Small Business with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, encouraged the campers to persevere as they pursue their education and career as entrepreneurs in the 21st century. 

State Representative Mark Williams took a special interest in the enthusiastic group, joining them for pizza after sharing personal and legislative information through a question and answer format.  Entrepreneurship Camp Participants

All of the campers gained new computer skills and participated in activities designed to strengthen their human relations and business/marketing potential during classes conducted by Okefenokee Technical College faculty and staff: Andy Brannen, Patrick Simmons, and Christine Whitley. The campers enjoyed their week, giving the coordinators excellent marks for creativity on the camp evaluation form.

FBLA students who participated in the Entrepreneur Camp last year were very complimentary of their experience. One student commented, “You should make the camp last 7 days, instead of 5.” Camp leaders listened to the suggestions and extended the hours of the camp.   

Judy Hesters-Scott, OTC’s Business and Industry Services Specialist, organized the curriculum again this year and set up numerous activities over the five-day period designed to expose participating Brantley County middle school students to entrepreneurship and the possibilities that exist within their own communities to plan, create, and establish new businesses. 

The camp helps students realize that many of the most successful businesses originated from ideas that came from the every day “Joe and Jane.” Students were challenged to plan and create a small business that they would like to own or operate. 

In order to complete this exercise, campers worked with a partner to create a business plan and a marketing plan. Then they presented their idea for evaluation to Dr. Neil Aspinwall, Vice President of Economic Development at OTC, and Mr. Larry Gattis, Finance Director with the City of Waycross.

Ms. Alexis Edgy’s and Ms. Melissa Boland’s business concept “PICK A PURSE” received the highest score in the competition.   As part of their presentation,
Edgy and Boland used a PowerPoint to display their merchandise, explaining to the judges the global economic impact through the use of the Internet.

The camp is a joint effort by Okefenokee Technical College, the Brantley County Development Authority, and the Brantley County Chamber of Commerce.  The Brantley County Development Authority received an Entrepreneur Friendly Implementation Fund (EFIF) grant from One Georgia Authority, and because local authorities and community members are committed to activities, such as this, that promote new business ideas and economic development, these funds were matched with in-kind services that helped cover the costs associated with the camp. Gary Strickland, Jeanie Boland, Peggy Bowers, and Ruby Ann Sawyer are among the local community members who supported and helped create the program.

Photo of Participants:
Front (L to R): Brittney Owens, Jennifer Wiggins, Judy Hesters-Scott, and Austin Burgess Back (L to R): Melissa Boland, B.J. Stallings, Alexis Edgy, Lindsey Holcomb, and Callie Medley


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