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CCC&TI SBC Wraps Another Successful Year of Award-Winning Camp Enterprise Program with Student Presentations

Published: 04/04/2024

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Small Business Center recently wrapped up another year of the award-winning “Camp Enterprise” program with presentations at the HUB Station in Hudson on March 21 from each of the four student teams.

In total, 16 high school students from across Caldwell County were chosen to participate in the program, which was developed through collaboration with Impact Rotary Club of the Foothills, CCC&TI’s Small Business Center, the Town of Hudson and Caldwell County Schools. The three-day bootcamp experience is designed to encourage and inspire students to think like entrepreneurs and provide a solid foundational knowledge of ethical business practices to help guide them along the path to success.

During the three-day program, students work on their leadership skills, hear several keynote addresses from successful business leaders in the community, learn more about developing and writing successful business plans, how to pitch a business concept, networking, how to talk with financial advisors, and other essential skills for building success as a small business owner. The program received state-wide recognition in 2023 as recipient of the state-wide “Excellence in Innovation Award in Services/Collaboration” at the Small Business Center Annual Professional Development Conference.

Interested students must submit an application and an essay that details why they are interested in the program and learning more about entrepreneurship. Applicants are narrowed down to the top 20 students and then divided into four teams. Each team is assigned a community leader as a coach and a student mentor from those who participated in the program in a previous year.

Each team prepared detailed presentations that included business plans, marketing strategies, funding sources, and other details along with websites, social media profiles, and a number of other strategies to ensure their business plan’s success. Students made their presentations live to a panel of judges made up of community business leaders.

Team 1 was coached by Kathryn Woods of Heritage Valley Farm and was comprised of Hannah Tucker (South Caldwell High School junior), Emma Mikeal (West Caldwell High School sophomore), Saul Alvarado (WCHS senior) and Lawson Jenkins, (Hibriten High School sophomore). Ava Aldrich, a Caldwell Early College High School senior was the team’s student mentor. Team 1’s project was called “Foothills Sportsplex.” The team’s idea centered around a community facility for a variety of sports and fitness activities, events and even included an ice rink for hockey and ice skating.

Team 1 which was comprised of (back row from left to right) Student Mentor Ava Aldrich, HHS student Lawson Jenkins, WCHS student Saul Alvarado and Coach Kathryn Woods. Front row (left to right) are WCHS student Emma Mikeal and SCHS student Hannah Tucker.

Team 2 was coached by Sam Morgan of State Farm Insurance and was comprised of Rachel Jetton (SCHS senior), Natalie Jones (HHS senior) and Logan Blackwelder (HHS sophomore). A fourth member was chosen for the team but had to leave the program early due to unforeseen circumstances. Team 2’s project was titled “IMPACT Center” and proposed a gym facility for teens featuring space for a variety of fitness activities and services, a lounge, and a juice-bar.

Team 2 which was comprised of (from left to right) Coach Sam Morgan and SCHS student Rachel Jetton, HHS student Natalie Jones and HHS student Logan Blackwelder.

Team 3 was coached by retired educator Lisa Kirkpatrick and was comprised of Lincoln Bollinger (Caldwell Applied Science Academy sophomore), George Hacsak (WCHS junior), Ava Deal (HHS sophomore) and Ana Melendez (HHS senior.) HHS junior Eric Meza served as the team’s student mentor. Team 3’s project, “Caldwell Canine” was focused on mobile grooming and training services for area dog owners. The team included a variety of marketing strategies including as subscription plan, flexible service hours, and a focus on “adaptability” that makes services less stressful for both dogs and their owners.

Team 3, who took home the win with their “Caldwell Canine” project; front row, left to right are HHS students Ana Melendez, HHS student Ava Deal, and Coach Lisa Kirkpatrick. Back row (from left to right) are WCHS student George Hacsak, student mentor Eric Meza and CASA student Lincoln Bollinger.

Team 4 was coached by SCHS Teacher Karen Isbell and was comprised of David Young (WCHS sophomore), Lauren Brittain (HHS sophomore), Mattie Walker (HHS sophomore) and Braedan Goudelock (HHS junior) with HHS Senior Victor Discua serving as their student mentor. Team 4’s project, “Down Memory Lane Arcade,” proposed a retro-themed arcade with vintage games made popular in the 80s and 90s and that featured an ‘old-school’ token system, a snack bar with nostalgic drinks and snacks, and a comfortable atmosphere for adults, children and families.

Team 4 which was comprised of HHS student Mattie Walker, HHS student Lauren Brittain, Coach Karen Isbell, student mentor Victor Discua, HHS student Braeden Goudelock, and WCHS student David Young.

The judges for this year were HUB Station Director Addie Cardwell-Faber; City of Lenoir Utilities Director, Jeff Church; Rotary District 7670 Representative Sean Gibson; Google Lenoir’s Operations Manager Brad Hefner; Blue Ridge Energy Director of Community Relations Tasha Rountree; and First Citizen Bank Manager Mark Transou.

The judges ultimately awarded the win to Team Three for “Caldwell Canine.” Each student on the winning team received a $500 CCC&TI Scholarship, as well as bragging rights for their hard work and detailed plan. All student participants received a Chrome Book, mouse, mouse pad and thumb drive sponsored by Google, and a copy of speaker Dr. Kenston Griffin’s book, “Your Turning Point Starts Now.”

For more information on CCC&TI’s Small Business Center, visit www.cccti.edu/smallbusiness, call 828-726-3065, or visit the Small Business Center at the HUB Station in downtown Hudson, NC.