Lakeland University Blog

High school students hone entrepreneurial skills at Lakeland

High school students hone entrepreneurial skills at Lakeland


High school students hone entrepreneurial skills at Lakeland

Four motivated high school students recently created and pitched business plans as part of Lakeland University's annual Academy for Aspiring Entrepreneurs.

The students, who are entering their junior or senior years this fall, were part of an intensive and fun four-day program that taught them how to build a successful business plan, including marketing, operations and a financial plan for a business product of their choosing.

The participating students were Ayden Fowler, North Fond du Lac High School; Sean Weeden, Cedarburg High School; Ally Jawarski, Cedar Grove-Belgium High School; and Liberty Vue, Sheboygan North High School.

The week culminated with students pitching their ideas to judges during a Muskie Tank session. The judges were Stephanie Hoskins, Lakeland's Herbert Kohler & Frank Jacobson Chair for Business and Entrepreneurship, Lakeland faculty member Katie Amundsen and Candice Boutelle, executive director of INSPIRE Sheboygan County.

Other highlights of the academy included:

  • Spending two days at Jakes, A Lakeland Community, in downtown Sheboygan where students wrote their business plan and were mentored by Hoskins and marketing expert/community leader Tryg Jacobson.
  • Spending time with Jake's staff member and recent Lakeland graduate Sydney Pingitore learning about life as a Lakeland student and learning about Launch: Lakeland Student-Run Businesses.
  • Mentoring by Joe Poeschel of the Commons Milwaukee.
  • Receiving a copy of "The Lens of Leadership: Being the Leaders That Others Want to Follow" by Cory Bouck, a Johnsonville executive and Lakeland Trustee who joined the students for a leadership Q&A session.

Participation in the academy was free, and each student received a $500 scholarship that can be used when they enroll in college and $750 if they attend Lakeland.

The academy is led by Britanni Meinnert, Lakeland's associate vice president of Cooperative Education & career readiness.

"Our goals are to teach the students the foundations of business, assist them with articulating a business plan around the idea of a minimal viable product that is innovative and have them learn from a variety of leaders and entrepreneurs," said Meinnert, an award-winning teacher who also worked 14 years in the hospitality industry as a department leader.

Students were invited to participate by their high school teachers or guidance counselors. They submitted a short essay to Lakeland explaining why they wanted to be involved.

Lakeland will hold the academy again next summer.

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