Students attend business, career skills program

What does a tomato fight, the Timberwolves and the Salted Nut Roll bar have in common? They were all major topics presented to BestPrep’s 32nd annual Minnesota Business Venture (MBV).

Anna Raeker-Rebek of Coon Rapids High School took part in the St. Cloud State University of Minnesota Business Venture, July 8-13.

Anna Raeker-Rebek of Coon Rapids High School took part in the St. Cloud State University of Minnesota Business Venture, July 8-13.

“This week was great,” Wilfred Raeker-Rebek, a student at Coon Rapids High School, said.

“I loved the speeches. My company worked well together and we got our loan! I also loved the SJU campus.”

MBV is a business and career skills program held in partnership with the Herberger Business School at St. Cloud State University and the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at St. John’s University.

Over 350 students representing 102 schools took a week out of their summer to prepare for life after high school, learn how to start their own business and improve their financial literacy skills.

More than 150 generous sponsors donated funds to support students’ attendance. The Walmart store – Coon Rapids, Affinity Plus Foundation, Donaldson Foundation, Northeast Bank and the Schott Foundation made this opportunity available for Anna Raeker-Rebek, Wilfred Raeker-Rebek and Alexandra Schweitzer from Coon Rapids High School.

According to Coon Rapids Walmart store manager Stephanie Barton, Walmart strives to provide opportunities that improve the lives of individuals in its communities.

“Minnesota Business Venture is a great opportunity for our local students to get a jump start on their future,” Barton said.

“MBV helps the students learn about future opportunities, build teamwork skills and manage their money. We are proud to partner with BestPrep in this experience.”

Over 170 Minnesota entrepreneurs and business professionals volunteered to share their experiences and business insights with the future workforce.

Students were met with a gamut of speakers from companies such as College Nannies and Tutors, JK Clothing, the Midwest Tomato Festival, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Pearson’s Candy Company and Share Save Spend.

Local business professionals, known as resident business leaders, served as mentors to the students throughout the program.

These volunteers, from companies such as Allianz Life, Ameriprise Financial, Ecolab, Ernst & Young, Medtronic, Piper Jaffray, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Travelers and Xcel Energy, lived on campus for the week and guided a small “company” of students through the curriculum and interactive activities.

BestPrep’s Minnesota Business Venture has more than 10,000 program alumni.

According to Andrea Hanson, Minnesota Business Venture’s director, Minnesota Business Venture is a unique opportunity for high school students to gain skills that will help them in their future.

“The interviewing, teamwork and communication skills developed during the week help prepare students for success in school and the work world,” Hanson said.

In addition to MBV, BestPrep offers five other programs: Classroom Plus, eMentors, Financial Matters, The Stock Market Game and the Technology Integration Workshop.

For more information about BestPrep, MBV 2012 or MBV 2013, visit the website at www.bestprep.org or call 763-398-0090.

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