Do students who participate in business and entrepreneur training develop skills that will prepare them for future success? This question and many more were posed to Dr. Mike Gibbs, founder and CEO and Peggy Gibbs, cofounder and COO of Camp BizSmart recently by Emma Jacobs, business life writer for the Financial Times. “Kids want real-world skills,” Dr. Gibbs said in the interview, which is why Camp BizSmart, a business and entrepreneur academy, relies on successful executives as mentors and coaches to share their insight & experience to guide students as they work to create innovative products to solve real customer needs.
In a review of Walter Issacson’s book “The Innovators”, Steven Shapin of the Wall Street Journal writes: “Issacson notes that organizations who host teams that are more than the sum of their individual parts are able to end up with those diverse teams being most creative”. He further states that “inventiveness flowed best from groups whose ideas arose from their exchanges around the differences in their knowledge, skills, styles of working and temperament.”
At Camp BizSmart, I can also say that student teams who are diverse have the best chance of coming to the most interesting and unique creative solution to real life business case problems. We have seen this time and time again. It is why we form teams with diversity of ages and background and skill sets. Think of the best team you ever had the privilege of working with – were you all the same in skills, talents and interests? Or did you pull from each others skills to go beyond what you originally thought was possible?
Today’s world may have many challenges but the best way to address those challenges is to prepare our youth with the skillset to deal with fear, doubt & uncertainty. Dr. Gibbs, an industrial psychologist, states that being good at what you do is the price of entry to any job. How you adapt to the ever-changing environment is what will set you apart. An example that Dr. Gibbs provides is Brian Moran, a versatile musician who performs, composes, and teaches, all things you might expect an accomplished musician to do. But in addition, he markets, manages the performance schedule, and makes sure each team member is featured doing what they do best. Being an entrepreneur means you must adapt and challenge yourself to stay at the forefront of what the customer wants and needs.
So back to the original question posed by the reporter: “do students who participate in business training develop skills that are required to be successful today? ” You probably already know what my answer will be; at Camp BizSmart we provide the environment, the challenge and the mentors that make the opportunity available. The final ingredient is the gritty student who is curious and persistent and willing to collaborate to create something no one else has ever done. What a privilege it is to provide this yeasty idea lab and how awesome it is to see the amazing innovations “Tweenpreneur” teams create. When you see the students present their product solutions to angel investors at the Camp BizSmart competition, it leaves no doubt that they have earned the skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.