Founded in 1988, the Ohio Business Week (OBW) Foundation provides high school students a unique, hands-on experience with business and entrepreneurship. The intensive week-long summer program brings motivated students together with business professionals from all over Ohio to experience entrepreneurship through the lens of our American free enterprise system.
During OBW, students experience college life as they translate textbook economic theories into “real world” business practices.
At the beginning of the week, participants form companies comprised of 10-12 students from across the state. Under the guidance of a business professional , each company develops an idea for a new, innovative product and transforms that idea into a start-up business venture.
After developing the idea, students embark on the Emerging Entrepreneur Project (EEP). During the EEP, each company researches and writes business, financial and marketing plans; designs a web page; constructs a trade show display; and creates an advertising campaign to promote their product. The EEP Competition culminates as each company gives a 10-minute presentation to a panel of business professionals who pose as venture capitalists.
Communication. Students enhance listening, verbal and writing skills by attending workshops, meeting with consultants, holding company meetings, preparing presentations, advertisements, trade show materials and sales pitches.
Collaboration. The program is designed so that each student is placed into a company of students they do not already know. By working together, students tap into each individual’s talents, expertise, interests and smarts in a setting conducive to collaboration and creativity.
Creativity. At the heart of the Emerging Entrepreneur Project is the innovation or invention that each company develops. Students generate ideas from brainstorming sessions, interviews with experts, personal experience and a host of resources—the possibilities are endless! Over the years, OBW students developed countless ideas for products and services long before they made it to market including vitamin water, digital picture frames and satellite phones.
Critical Thinking. While the project provides a framework, each company works throughout the week solving problems by applying information and knowledge acquired through multiple sources such as the web, OBW workshops, experts/consultants, surveys and personal experience.
Students must submit their application online at www.ohiobusinessweek.org. Students are required to provide the name of a teacher, counselor or school administrator who will endorse their application.
Once accepted, students are asked to pay a commitment fee of $449 to help defray the remaining cost of meals, housing and materials at the program. Financial aid is available to those students who qualify.
The total cost for meals, housing and materials for the week is $949. Each student attends OBW thanks to a $500 scholarship donated from a local business, civic organization or foundation. OBW will provide scholarships for 175 students from across Ohio this summer.