Eleven alumni spent August 14-18 in an all-day “camp” to learn how to take their businesses or business plans to a higher level of sophistication. The camp was hosted by Cleveland State University’s Nance College of Business, and was taught by Katerina Zacharia, a Certified Entrepreneurship Teacher/Teacher Trainer, who works with the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) out of New York City. Funding for the camp was provided by The Coleman Foundation, of Chicago.
“It was more of a forum than a class,” explains participant Erica Maines, who praised the ways that Katerina “taught us to teach ourselves, and didn’t just give us material from a textbook."
Erica used the week to think more carefully about the marketing side of her gift basket business. She’s going to do more to go to her customers, instead of passively waiting for them to come to her
“The camp wasn’t at all a selfish thing,” Erica added. “We helped each other come up with ideas for the improvement of our businesses and we worked as a group.”
“The camp was phenomenal and it really opened my eyes to the financial side of business,” reported Cory Johnson.
“I appreciated the personalized feedback from the instructor and my coach,” says Ariana Smith-Bland, who now understands why she needed to raise the prices on her tissue holders, and how easy it would be to expand her product line to include covers for such items as i-pods and laptop computers.
These same students won venture capital prizes at the business plan competition:
Ariana Smith-Bland $1,000
Erica Maines $500
Cory Johnson $250
Ariana also won the opportunity to participate in the upcoming NFTE/Smith Barney National Business Plan Competition in New York City.
We thank these volunteers who helped make this camp an awesome experience for our students:
Rocco DiLillo City Visitor, Inc.
Diana Richards Vacuum Systems International, Inc.
Nick Palazzo STACK Magazine
Mack Danzey Danzey Landscaping
Business Plan Coaches:
Business Plan Judges:
R. Charles VerMerris