Girl School

Entrepreneurial Education For Girls

A growing number of programs and resources empower girls to envision themselves as entrepreneurs. Take a look at a sampling of what's available:

Camp Entrepreneur, held each June at the University of North Florida, is a one-week day camp for girls ages 14 to 17 that teaches entrepreneurship by exposing girls to business plan writing and presenting; a mocktail party, where they learn to network; an etiquette luncheon and business fashion show; and introductions to professional women who serve as mentors. To apply, call Mollie Lawerence at (904) 620-2470 or visit www.unf.edu/coba/cee.

The Center for Women Entrepreneurs at Columbia College in South Carolina operates a one-week summer camp each July to help high school sophomores and juniors understand the ins and outs of operating a company. Participants create and present a business plan to a panel of real lenders. For information, call Vicki Brown or Susan Davis (803) 786-3108, or visit www.nawbomadison.org.

Girls and Young Women Entrepreneurs: True Stories About Starting and Running a Business Plus How You Can Do It Yourself by Frances A. Karnes, Suzanne M. Bean and Elizabeth Verdick (Free Spirit Publishing), offers success stories, words of inspiration and a how-to section.

Girls' Biz, a program operated from September to June in conjunction with the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, targets girls in sixth through eighth grades. Participants learn how to function as a team, jointly develop a business concept, present it and then receive real capital to implement their ideas. For information, call (608) 273-1600.

The Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), along with West Michigan Girl Scouts, runs a one-week program in July for girls in seventh through ninth grades. Students develop a business idea, take field trips to visit women entrepreneurs and conclude the program with a presentation of their business plans. For details, call Paula Brush at (616) 458-3404.

How To be a Teenage Millionaire by Art Beroff & T.R. Adams (Entrepreneur press) is a fact-filled starter's guide that shows 13- to 17-year-olds how they can turn their hobbies, skills and interests into profit-making ventures.

Independent Means targets girls ages 14 to 19 with two-week summer camps running from June to August that introduce the concepts of entrepreneurship (Camp Startup) and investing (Summer $tock). The company also operates the "Business Plan Competition," in which five girls win $2,500 each for their plans. The deadline to submit entries for that competition is August 15. For details about the contest or the camps, call (805) 965-0475 or visit www.independentmeans.com.

Mother and Daughter Entrepreneurs in-Teams (MADE-IT), created in 1995 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, teams seventh-grade girls with their mothers for a two-year program that includes business training, mentoring and more. It's currently operating in Kansas City, Kansas; Binghamton, New York; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; Smithtown, New York; and Sioux City, Iowa. Teams compete within each city; one winning team from each city attends a one-week residential camp in June in Kansas City, Missouri, and a national business competition where they're eligible for awards and cash prizes. Once the businesses are up and running, teams receive continuous mentoring and guidance from program organizers. For details, call Carol Allen at (816) 932-1158.

Women's Business Center in Washington, DC, has started the Young Women's Business Club, an after-school program for girls ages 14 to 18 that teaches participants about businesses and helps them start one before the end of the semester. The program was launched in conjunction with the National Foundation for Training Entrepreneurs. For details, call (202) 785-4922.

Women's Enterprise Centre of Manitoba in Canada offers a number of programs, including the Mind Your Own Business Contest awarding $500 each to the five best business plans submitted by girls ages 15 to 18. For more information, call (800) 203-2343 within Manitoba, (204) 988-1860 outside, or visit the organization's Web site.

Women's Enterprise Institute at Midway College in Kentucky targets girls ages 13 to 17 with a one-week residential summer camp program-Enterprising Girls-that explores entrepreneurial ideas. Girls develop a business idea, learn about teamwork and meet successful women business owners. For information, call (859) 846-5800.

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This article was originally published in the June 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Girl School.

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