By: Jade Anderson
June 22, 2010
Lemira Elementary students are getting busy with business this summer.
Thirteen rising fifth- and sixth-graders have been attending BizCamp since June 7 and will continue through Thursday.
Principal Delcia Harper-Baxter said Lemira is the only elementary school in Sumter County to participate in the program.
BizCamp instructor Linda Avery said these kinds of camps have been taking place all over South Carolina in places such as Charleston, Columbia and Florence, but this is the first one in the tri-county region. She also owns her own business, P.R.I.D.E. 4 Youth LLC, which stands for Providing Resources and Initiatives to Discover Entrepreneurs for Youth.
"(This is the) first in Sumter," Avery said. "It was time to get it started here. The backbone of America is small business."
Avery teaches business education and entrepreneurship at Crestwood High School. She was also recently named the YEScarolina Entrepreneurial Teacher of the Year for the state. YEScarolina stands for Youth Entrepreneurship South Carolina.
She's had two volunteers helping her this summer, Kimberly Anderson and Denisha McDuffie.
Students have been doing activities to learn business principles.
They did drawings of themselves and cut out words, such as "perseverance," "independence"
and "creativity," to describe characteristics they would need to be business owners. They have reviewed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat assessments on ideas and analyzed a commercial to see how they could do it better. Students were also asked to create their own cereal with mascots.
"These guys have some really good ideas," Avery said. "You've got to be creative, and they are very creative."
Anderson, a 19-year-old rising sophomore at Charleston Southern University, agreed.
"I love working with kids," she said. "I'm amazed at their ideas. Some of them, they could really do now."
Anderson said she thinks this is a great camp for children. She said she enjoys seeing the students' smile when they think about their ideas.
"They can make money, but they can also make a difference," Anderson said. "That's what I really like about this camp."
She was recently named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
McDuffie, a rising senior at Crestwood, also said she loves working with the students and finds it fun.
"I teach them and I also learn from them, so we learn from each other," McDuffie said.
She said they think of stuff she wouldn't.
The 16-year-old was also selected as a YEScarolina Top Young Entrepreneur for South Carolina. She will receive $250 in seed money to start her own business and will be recognized at the awards ceremony in Charleston in October. She said she is already in the process of getting her business license.
The children are also enjoying the camp.
"I love it, and it's awesome," said Marcus Phillips, 10. "The teachers are friendly and help us and make me want to come here."
Quintia Burns, 9, said it's fun to do all the activities.
"I think it's really fun because of the hands-on activities," said Shanairia McKnight, 10.
Andrew Parsons, 11, said he liked it because it's helping him think about business plans he can implement now. Andrew said he wanted to own his own wolf preserve, but because he can't do that right now, he can sell stones with wolves painted on them and send the money to current wolf preserves.
Allura King, 11, liked that the camp is teaching the students about things like target markets and whole selling.
"We get to learn how to start a business when we get older," said Tishera Spivey, 11. "We can be a partnership and we learned about the four P's - product, place, promotion and price."
The camp will culminate in a competition where the students give a business pitch using PowerPoint presentations. The top three will win seed money. First place will earn $300; second place, $200; and third place, $100.
The competition will be held at Lemira starting at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Avery is looking forward to it.
"I'm really excited," she said. "I love doing this and seeing the ideas they come up with."
Reach Jade Anderson at (803) 774-1250.