Ohio Business Week at BGSU empowers high school students to explore entrepreneurship, business careers

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – For 109 high school students, the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business at Bowling Green State University served as a buzzing hub of entrepreneurship during Ohio Business Week from June 18-23.

BGSU, which played host to the camp for the first time, wrapped up five days’ worth of activities, speeches from established business leaders, innovation and teamwork for high school students interested in business careers.

During the week, the students, who stayed in residence halls on the BGSU campus, received a crash course in everything involved with starting a business, ranging from writing a business plan to assigning leadership to marketing to a trade-show-style simulation aimed at luring potential “investors.”

Cory Dippold, the executive director of Ohio Business Week, said the camp aims to give participants a full picture of what the business world entails.

“Through keynote speakers, presentations and different exercises, we taught them the basics of building a start-up like creating a business plan, marketing materials, a video ad and a website, and everything built up to their final presentations on Friday,” Dippold said.

“Everything has a purpose, where it’s not just the competition side of it, but for the students, it’s teaching them how to enroll people, how to pitch their products and how to get investment from people – all the things you really need to know when starting a business.”

As the host of the event, BGSU turned the Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center into company headquarters for visiting students, who assembled in teams of nine or 10 to devise a new product and prepare to bring it to market.

Early in the week, the teams assigned executive-level roles, heard from speakers on various business-related topics and prepared to seek outside investment for their mock companies.

Through the various activities on campus, a midweek visit from BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers and engagement with the BGSU Young Alumni Board, students received a glimpse into what might be possible with a business degree at BGSU.

“We were excited to host Ohio Business Week and provide a background for students interested in business to see how they can explore their interest on the BGSU campus,” said Katrina Heilmeier, the assistant director of recruitment for the Schmidthorst College of Business. “We opened up the Maurer Center, which felt like a home for students while they found space to do group and individual projects.”

For many prospective business students, the weeklong series of events gives them a chance to not only try their hand at creating a new product, but also to familiarize themselves with various areas of expertise within business.

“We think about it from the Life Design perspective, and students here had a great chance to test something out,” Heilmeier said. “When coming to Ohio Business Week, throughout the week students have opportunities to hear from speakers and participate in the group projects. We hope they are able to reflect and think about how this might fit into the impact they want to make in the future.”

Ohio Business Week, a volunteer-led effort from state business leaders, puts on the event to connect with the next generation of business students.

By covering so many bases within the business field, Dippold said students can explore interests and learn about their field before starting college.

“Sometimes activities reinforce what they want to do, and other times they will actually change a student’s focus,” Dippold said. “If you expected to go into finance in college but you’re assigned to the marketing team, you have a chance to say, ‘I really liked that and that’s what I want to do.’

“It’s a good investment by parents to allow their student to go figure some of this out before they even get to college.”

Updated: 06/28/2023 08:26AM