Camp BizSmart and Silicon Valley – a match made in heaven

“There is a reason why all of these innovators go to the San Jose metro area or to San Francisco” says UC Berkeley economics professor Enrico Moretti, “and that’s because they are already innovating there.” This is just an excerpt from a recent article written by Mike Cassidy of the San Jose Mercury News, I encourage you to read the entire article.


Bill Reichert, Garage Technology Ventures, at Camp BizSmart

The year Camp BizSmart launched, 2008, Mike Cassidy wrote a story about our business and entrepreneur camp. He was delighted to find that young people 11-15, especially in Silicon Valley, would jump at the chance to spend 10 days of their summer to compete to create the next big thing! Well, here we are 6 years later, having expanded to meet the demand and being named by CNN in 2012, as one of the most unique camps in the US! Why?

  • Camp BizSmart partners with successful entrepreneurs of award winning companies to provide current, in the news, real world problems for our students to solve; creating and competing to be named the most valued business product innovation.
  • Camp BizSmart specializes in unique entrepreneur and business skills development so that aspiring students can create the next great product innovations and companies.
  • Through fast, fun, hands-on work in teams, students acquire the skills necessary to solve business problems, design new products and defend their solution to successful executives and angel investors.

We think Camp BizSmart and Silicon Valley is a match made in heaven; – but don’t take our word for it – read on and learn more including what a Brookings Institute Study found:

“Is it something in the water or the air?” Nope, the energy source is the amazing entrepreneurs and executives that can be found here, many who come to Camp BizSmart to inspire our students. These entrepreneurs are driven to solve problems and in so doing have created an amazing synergy of idea generation, innovation and talent. Entrepreneurs from Cisco, Microsoft, Apple and Google, are among the well known company executives who come to Camp BizSmart to share their stories and provide expert mentoring that makes the hands-on pre-college curriculum come alive. In addition to the well known companies, “in the news” entrepreneurs from early to mid stage companies like HopeLab, NeuroSky, d.light design, Hydrovolts and more share their unique personal story, illustrating that problems to solve are all around us. Mike Gibbs, Ph.D., CEO of Camp BizSmart says, “If you have a great idea that solves a customers’ problem, and a sustainable way to monetize it, and are willing to apply the grit, persistence and work ethic needed, — well, then you too, might just be able to create a valued company and the next big thing. ”

“The future is in innovation,” Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley was quoted as saying. Patents are one way to measure innovations – many say one of the best ways. The article also goes on to say that the secret lies in the critical mass of not only smart inventors, but also a great supporting network of venture capitalists, designers, manufactures, and others with the key skills that support business innovations. We would add, great mentors as a key ingredient who inspire and coach the next generation of problem solvers and innovators providing valuable insight. Bill Reichert, Managing Partner at Garage Technology Ventures, is an example of this, not only is he an advisor to Camp BizSmart, but as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, is one of these “great mentors”, who inspire our students with current “what matters now” information and valuable lessons from experience.

Cassidy’s article goes on to say that, “here in Silicon Valley, the numbers (of patents) are impressive.” The San Jose metro area, “Silicon Valley”, averaged over 9,000 patent grants a year from 2007 to 2011, according to the Brookings Institution study, making it number 1 in the US. Next was San Francisco which includes Oakland and Fremont, with just over 7,000. Think of it this way, A San Jose resident is 600 times more likely to come up with a patent-worthy idea than a resident of McAllen Texas, the Brookings study said.

So, if you are 11-15 and want to develop or hone your business and entrepreneur skills – let me suggest you — “Go West young man and young woman”, – to Silicon Valley and attend Camp BizSmart this summer.

We fill up fast, so apply soon to have your preference of location and dates. Here are the 2013 dates and locations, all in premiere executive conference space to provide students with a preview of executive life:

  • June 17-28, 2013 – at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Conference Center, San Mateo, CA
  • July 8-19, 2013 – at Stanford University, Landau Economics Building, Lucas Conference Center
  • July 29-Aug 9, 2013 – at Stanford University, Alumni Center, Fisher Conference Center

Finally, hats off to the great innovators! We celebrate the many entrepreneurs who share their personal stories and mentor and inspire Camp BizSmart students! An old saying that bears repeating here, ” you are known by the company you keep.” Join us to hang out with some great role models this summer!

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