How is Camp BizSmart different from other camps?

Camp BizSmart is the only camp in the U.S. that teaches young aspiring entrepreneurs ages 11 – 15 and 16-18, the essential entrepreneurial skills needed to run a business in a flat, competitive world. Here are some of the ways our program stands above other camps:

  • Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs work on product innovation business cases that are created by our Founders and CEO’s of sponsoring companies.
  • They gain real-world experience in a positive, team-based environment.
  • They personally learn through the mentorship of top executives.

What is your learning model?

Our model is based on the proven practice of project-based learning, which teaches kids skills and abilities through problem-solving exercises based on real business cases. We call it LDCA (“Learn, Do, Coach, Act”). It was adapted from the advice W. Edwards Deming, the father of statistical quality control, used to give to Fortune 500 companies.

Is this just another technology skills camp?

Camp BizSmart teaches much more than just technology skills. Our programs and team-based classrooms promote good attitudes as well, Herb Kelleher, the wildly successful CEO and founder of Southwest Airlines, once said his secret to success was “hiring for attitude and training for everything else.”

Do you focus on skill development?

We are dedicated to teaching young people essential skills, and we’ve formed our learning model around it. Our programs emphasize leadership, collaborative teamwork, financial analysis, project management, negotiation, positive influence, a growth mindset and public speaking.

What’s it like at Camp BizSmart?

Aspiring tweenpreneurs and teenpreneurs choose their own teams and assume the roles of C-level executives, such as CEO and CFO. Each aspiring young entrepreneur will negotiate for the team role they are most interested in. We recommend that each individual have at least two roles in mind that they are ready to pitch to fellow teammates to demonstrate why they should have that role.  The roles reflect company executive and management team responsibilities and provide a preview of what is required should they have that role in the future. The team CEO role has the responsibility as the project manager to help their team fulfill the objectives and requirements for competition. Each team then solves a product innovation business case problem given by the CEO and founder of a successful company. Teams design an innovative solution including a product concept and design, write a business plan and pitch, and present it to a group of real investors. It’s a challenging task, but students have a lot of fun together.

How are the company business case assignments made?

Before camp, young people who have signed up are provided with the current company business case descriptions. They must research all companies and assign priority to each in order of interest. On the first day of the program, they negotiate with others in their workshop to obtain their first or second choice business case in addition to their team role.   We encourage all individuals to have research all business cases relevant to their workshop and to think about what is most important to them, the business case they prefer or their role on the team in the event that they may need to make a choice.

How are projects completed in only two weeks?

Time management isn’t just something we teach – we practice it. Each day’s agenda is precisely coordinated. In addition to camp directors, each team is assigned a facilitator whose job it is to keep team members focused on project goals, schedules, and requirements.  At graduation each year, Camp BizSmart alumni report that they did not know how much they were able to accomplish until they were challenged to get their work done and ready for competition in the two-week time period.  The good news we can report is that they all said they had been made aware that they could do much more than they previously had thought and were both proud of themselves and energized by that.

Why is Camp BizSmart project-based?

Research suggests that successful business founders and entrepreneurs learn exceedingly well from actual experience. We design projects to duplicate how people learn in real life. We know that if you are able to use all of your senses while you learn something new and have the opportunity to practice, guided by a mentor who can help you adjust what you do to increase your effectiveness, you will not only retain what you learn better, you will gain confidence and the ability to work through and learn from mistakes.  To be open to gain new skills it is necessary to understand the value of “not yet”, which is the ability to overcome the fear of not knowing something, or not being proficient at something by being able to say, “I don’t know it yet, but I am working on it”.  This willingness to overcome a challenge is needed to have a growth mindset while anyone works on what is new or not yet a developed skill. We like to say that it is important how you practice a new skill because of the habits you will develop in the process.  That is why we have mentors to guide the process of learning throughout the workshop.  We like to say that “practice makes permanent” due to the habits we create, so let’s make sure we are practicing to develop the habits of learning we want.

What kind of projects do aspiring entrepreneurs work on at Camp BizSmart?

We know Camp BizSmart aspiring entrepreneurs are passionate and up to date on the latest technology. We integrate technology with projects to get kids excited and involved in a variety of emerging business trends and issues. Past team projects include a portable battery energy device, an interactive augmented reality fitness and rehabilitation device, an iPhone app to track home energy use, a literacy program in Northern Uganda, a teencentric wearable fitness device, an electric mini-moto motorcycle, and a variety of other unique and innovative projects. Check our website for the past product innovation business cases and the videos and posted cases for the past year.  New cases are posted in the Spring before the new Summer season.

What are the qualifications of Camp BizSmart’s staff and faculty?

Our founders Mike and Peggy Gibbs each have 30 years of experience in management and leadership at General Electric, Benetech, Texas Instruments, Packard Children’s Hospital, the Girl Scouts, and several Silicon Valley start-ups. Camp BizSmart Directors are carefully selected for their knowledge, training, and years of experience at leading companies. Our faculty members come from companies like Cisco, Serious Energy, Apple, Google, Kaboodle, and other well-known fast-growing businesses.

What do the founders know about skill development?

Dr. Michael Gibbs is an organizational psychologist who has delivered seminars to executives in over 20 countries for General Electric and The Haas Business School at UC Berkeley. He has worked with top Fortune 500 companies and executives around the world. As a psychologist, he evaluated student performance and worked on projects to reinvent education in the U.S. at The Health Trust. Peggy Gibbs co-founded education and youth development ventures, including the Children’s Dental Initiative and BrainWise Learning. She also co-founded the Santa Clara County Partnership for School Readiness. At Packard Children’s Hospital Ms. Gibbs raised capital for cutting-edge children’s medical services. At the Girls Scouts, she initiated programs to teach girls math, science, and leadership skills. Her Specialty is business development and partnership relationships in the launch and incubation of new ventures.

What’s the student base of Camp BizSmart programs?

Since 2008, we have drawn top students from 15 international schools, plus students from across the United States, as well as over 60 public and private schools in the Bay Area, to premier venues in Silicon Valley, including Santa Clara University and Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Microsoft, as well as numerous international locations.

Does Camp BizSmart plan to expand globally?

Camp BizSmart has already established a worldwide presence. Camp BizSmart students have pitched their ideas, live via TelePresence, to students in Argentina and Brazil. Business plan presentations have streamed from India and China. In addition, students have traveled from Argentina, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, and China to be coached, mentored, and inspired at Camp BizSmart programs.

We’re establishing locations outside the U.S. We opened Camp BizSmart India in 2010 with camps in Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. We have Workshops during the year at locations in Zurich, Switzerland, Lima, Peru, and Dubai, UAE.

How can I find out if Camp BizSmart is right for my child?

We invite you to speak personally with our founders. They would love to talk to you about how Camp BizSmart provides the best learning environment for your aspiring young entrepreneur.

There are 3 levels of workshops to select from: Camp BizSmart Product Design and Biz Pitch Competition for ages 11-15 which gives a full understanding and step by step mentor instruction of the fundamentals that go into creating a product innovation with team mates; BizSmart Accelerator for ages 14-18 builds on the skills gained in the earlier workshop or from other comparable experiences, students are given more independence to select their resources as they work in teams competing to solve a business challenge that provides opportunities for multiple solutions; BizSmart Atelier Master Class for ages 16-19 is where aspiring entrepreneurs bring their own product innovation and start-up ideas, mentored by experts who help them create a crowdfunding video and pitch to prepare for potential public launch.    BizSmart Challenge virtual workshop, for young people who are 12-16 is scheduled upon demand, and also at various times of the year as an option for schools and groups The founders look forward to speaking with you and answering your questions.

Mike Gibbs, CEO: Mike’s Cell: (408) 472-6701 – email: dr.mike@bizsmartglobal.com
Peggy Gibbs, COO: Peggy’s Cell: (408) 472-2861 – email: peggy.gibbs@bizsmartglobal.com

Is Camp BizSmart tuition tax deductible?

If your child is under the age of 13 and attending a Camp BizSmart program this summer, you may be able to count the tuition you pay as an expense toward the Child and Dependent Care Credit. To determine your eligibility, please speak with a tax professional.

Can I use my flexible savings account (FSA) to pay tuition?

Please check with your employer’s HR department to find out if your FSA plan covers day camps like Camp BizSmart.

What if I need to cancel my student’s enrollment?

If you wish to protect your tuition and travel investment against an unforeseen circumstance, we have partnered with A+ Program Protection from TravMark to offer various coverages. Please click here to learn more and obtain a quote.

What is the refund policy?

We want to make it as easy for parents as possible and have created a refund policy when applying to our workshops.

Because we work with many instructors, venues, vendors, and caterers, it is important that we have an accurate headcount well in advance of the event. And, because we sign contracts with venues guaranteeing the number of students at least 30 business days in advance of your arrival, we are unable to offer any refunds 30 business days prior to the event.  Please refer to the application page of the workshop you select for specific details or important dates to be aware of.

If you need to make a change, for instance, change the workshop you want to attend, or in the event you must cancel, and it is 30 business days or more before the event, please contact Peggy Gibbs to request the change or to request a refund.  In order to assure we have the correct information to make a tuition refund, it is important that we have your request and contact information in writing.  Please note, that if a young person drops out during a workshop, the tuition is not refundable. However, we want to assure you that if we are unable to operate a Camp BizSmart workshop, your tuition is refundable. Thank you for understanding. Please contact us directly is you have any additional questions.