So, what did you do on your summer vacation? Results are in for Camp BizSmart Oahu.

When asking students what they did this summer, you may expect to hear, “went to the beach”, “took a vacation”, “read some good books”, or “took a class”. But imagine asking that question of students on the beautiful island of Oahu and having a student who is 11-15 answer you this way, ”I worked with a team of students to create a way to make drinking water out of salt water, and came up with a way to carry it on my back.” or “I served on a team that evaluated and improved a cool new activity device that will help kids my age be more fit and healthy!”

Am I dreaming or in a parallel universe you ask? No, these are typical statements from real kids who attended Camp BizSmart, a 10 day, entrepreneurial business academy for students 11-15, held for one week at Iolani and one week at Punahou schools. How does this happen you might ask? These students were inspired to work on big issues of the day by successful executives Richard Tate from HopeLab and Darren Kimura from Sopogy, who provided the business problem students worked on.

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Richard Tate VP exec from HopeLab with student teams

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Darren Kimura CEO Sopogy with student teams

Students gain experience in business skills through hands-on activities and receive coaching from Camp BizSmart staff members Camp Director, John Rankin, and facilitators Phil Kimi, Krisha Arnobit and Brent Aratani. Expert mentors offered real life examples of how they apply competitive analysis, cash flow, marketing and sales strategies that support their business models. These business examples combined with mentored hands-on practice helped students gain skills in problem solving and critical thinking which they applied to brainstorm and solve the business problem they were given.

How is it determined if the students understood the concepts they were exposed to? Students compete in a business plan competition where they present and defend their solutions to a panel of executives. Was there a winner? You bet! Since there were multiple teams working on the same business problem they are designated by team number and company name. Camp BizSmart Oahu – 1st place winner – went to Sopogy team 1 students: Team: Ryne Sato, Christian Gutierrez, Tate Higahihara, Troy Enoka and Dakota Miller created a water desalination device that was portable and affordable and runs completely on sunlight! The rendering below was created by industrial design firm, WAGIC, who used both the students sketches and discussions with them to illustrate their new product invention.

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Sopogy Team 1 takes 1st place!

And 2nd place winners – HopeLab team 1 students :Brett Tsuzaki, Tamlyn Tamura, Ben Uchimura Kiana Kim, Kelly Correa. Congratulations!

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HopeLab team 1 Oahu Zamzee product illustration

The Zamzee measures a child’s activity level and features incentives to encourage increasing fitness while having fun.

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HopeLab Team 1 – with Camp BizSmart Camp Director, John Rankin

Winning teams are given the opportunity to make a presentation to company executives as their reward. But the real reward is knowing that even when you are 11-15 you are able to make a big impact and create important solutions to real problems.

So, what did you do on your summer vacation? Solve any problems that will improve our world? No? Well, maybe next year if you go to Camp BizSmart you too can make a big difference! Camp BizSmart founders, Mike and Peggy Gibbs take their hats off to Ann Yoneshige at Iolani and Casey Agena at Punahou for hosting Camp BizSmart this year.The program was so popular that Camp BizSmart 2011 will be held earlier next summer so that students 11-15 from all over Oahu will be to attend and have their own stories of solving problems during their summer vacation. Stay – tuned! Oh and by the way,in addition to the Oahu site, Camp BizSmart held sessions at Stanford and Santa Clara Universities and launched an introductory program in India this summer.

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Join us next summer!

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