Vermont is home to a number of successful small businesses and this July, the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV) hosted a unique entrepreneurship program for 22 teens. This six-day intensive residential institute, GIV-E, was hosted by Vermont Tech at their Randolph Center campus from July 7-12. The program’s experienced team of entrepreneurial business and education professionals shared their knowledge with students to build an understanding of the skills necessary to starting a business. The goal of the Institute is to empower and educate the attending youth entering grades 10-12 about the power of entrepreneurship.
“I learned so much more than just marketing and finances, but how people interact in the business world and that being an entrepreneur is more than just making money,” said Caleb Guziak, a student that attended the Entrepreneurial Institute. “Being an entrepreneur is about spreading what you’re passionate about and improving the world around you. Without this Institute I’d probably never learn that, not in any high school or college course.”
Students that attended the GIV-E program started with idea generation and evaluation, then moved through the business development stages. In addition to learning experiences at Vermont Tech, the program included a field trip to meet the New Product Development Team at King Arthur Flour and tour the manufacturing facility. The program ended with the “Rocket Pitch” competition, where six teams of students pitched their business ideas to a team of expert business and faculty professionals in just 10 minutes.
“Governor’s Institutes has 31 years of experience providing world-class summer programs to Vermont teens. We chose to locate our first Governor’s Institute on Entrepreneurship at Vermont Tech because of the enthusiasm of their outstanding staff leader, Laurel Butler, and the wonderful resources that she, Vermont Tech and the VtSBDC pulled together for these young people,” said Executive Director for the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont, Karen Taylor Mitchell. “It’s been a terrific partnership and we can’t wait to see it grow next year.”
The students had the chance to hear from established business professionals from around the state, including: Marianne Mullen of Awaken Creativity, Ken Liatsos of People Making Good PR, Chris Kaiser of Vermont Peanut Butter Co. and Michael Adams, 2013 winner of the Launch VT competition and founder of Green Mountain Mustard. In addition, the students had the chance to network and learn about important business resources they can use now and into the future from Linda Rossi, State Director of VtSBDC; Lisa Gosselin, Commissioner of Economic Development; Rebecca Holcombe, Secretary of Education; and representatives from Vermont Tech, StartupVT, the SBA and many more.