Seventy eight Chinese students, aged 14 to 18 traveled from China to the United States with their Chaperones to attend Camp BizSmart’s Silicon Valley Innovation and Product Design Workshop held in two residential sessions at Stanford University. Camp BizSmart created this unique, one week session to provide these students with the hands on experience of working in teams mentored by entrepreneurs to create an innovative solar light product that would serve the needs of individuals in rural China. For almost all of these students, it was their very first time in the US and also their first time working together as an executive team would do within a company to create a new product solution. The program was taught in English and bilingual Camp BizSmart staff facilitators, Catherine Liu and Suwen (Silvia) Feng, made sure that new business concepts and vocabulary were fully understood as students created new product designs and sales strategies to meet the business case criteria they were given.
The workshop curriculum was created by Dr. Mike Gibbs, CEO and Cofounder of Camp BizSmart. In addition to Dr. Gibbs, workshop leadership was provided by Bryan Cockel, an entrepreneur who has led sessions at Stanford and in India for Camp BizSmart for many years. Additional Silicon Valley executives such as Jason Li, Founder and CEO of iReTron and Dr. Ellen Pieterse shared business wisdom and gave the students an opportunity to develop their leadership and innovation skills while doing activities that made the learning fun and productive. Student teams presented their product innovations to executive Bret Cameto and Workshop Director Bryan Cockel at Microsoft. Following the competition, there was a graduation and awards celebration where students received certificates for successfully completing the requirements. In addition, the top team innovation and top student innovator was recognized.