Summer 2023 witnessed almost 50 high school students develop their ideas into business pitches at IMPACT, a six-day entrepreneurship camp.
As Taylor University expands its Entrepreneurship department, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship assisted in creating a six-day intensive camp to engage with students.
“We have a bunch of entrepreneurial students, but they don’t know what to do with their ideas,” Victor Cusato, director of IMPACT, said.
Cusato manages the program along with student employees who make phone calls to schools and funders, organize events and coordinate behind-the-scenes work. Cusato’s passion for empowering both high school and college students to innovate makes IMPACT a powerful program for young individuals with big ideas.
IMPACT’s primary goal of preparation, immersion and acceleration equips junior and senior high school students and beyond for entrepreneurship.
At the end of their time at IMPACT, participants presented as a group to compete for funding outside the camp. Students were immersed in both relational and spiritual growth at IMPACT. On the final night of the camp, 11 students were baptized in Taylor Lake.
The week-long summer camp started long before students arrived on campus. As part of IMPACT’s goal of preparation, the camp reached out to high school students 2 weeks prior to begin brainstorming their entrepreneurial ideas.
Once students arrived on campus, they engaged in the immersion step of the program. Forty-nine campers were broken up into six groups, each with a Taylor student mentor. Student mentors assisted campers in taking their fuzzy ideas and turning them into a clearer concept, then utilized that concept to create a presentation.
The camp not only allowed students to polish their own ideas, but to continue with the program throughout the school year through the acceleration step of IMPACT.
Additionally, a handful of students plan on attending Taylor University to further their passions according to Cusato.
IMPACT’s inaugural year was a success for all involved due to the great amounts of hard work from student mentors, faculty and the two guest speakers brought in to help campers leap into the business world.
President Dr. Michael Lindsey interviewed Dena Jacquay, Chief Administrative Officer of Parkview Health, and Chuck Surack, Founder and Chairman of Sweetwater, about their experience and business practices.
“The camp was successful this year ultimately since we trusted God,” Dr. Mick Bates, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said.
The IMPACT camp brought direction and inspiration to young students’ entrepreneurial passions. The camp assisted in the development of these ideas and the building of relationships between peers, mentors, faculty and guest speakers. IMPACT creates a much greater impact than simply inspiring innovation.
“IMPACT is more than just the camp,” Bates said.