Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Attracts, Students, Young Business Owners, Artists

by Rose Ann Pearce (rapearce@thecitywire.com) 66 views 

After a week in a teen entrepreneurship boot camp, John David Halaway said the experience was a good one to help him manage his own company, J.D.’s Mobile Car Detailing. The 17-year-old Haas Hall Academy senior said at the start of the weeklong camp that he wanted to learn how to work a business and learn how to network his business better.

After five days, as he worked on his final presentation with teammates, Jake Taylor and Edward Montgomery, Halaway said the highlights of the week was a visit to Walmart’s innovation laboratory and learning more about financing his business, from managing money and getting loans.

Halaway, Taylor and Montgomery were among 16 teenagers who attended the camp, held at the Start Up Junkie Consulting office in the Pryor Center building on the Fayetteville Square. The fourth annual camp was co-sponsored by Start Up in conjunction with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

Montgomery, 17, a senior at Greenland High School, is an artist who has been exhibiting and selling his artwork at Ozark Folkways in Winslow for the last four months. Like Halaway, Montgomery came to the camp to learn more about business, especially getting a business started and getting a building for that business.

On Friday, as he and partners worked on their final presentation, Montgomery said he learned more about how to appeal to a customer, how to set up an elevator pitch to state clearly and concisely what his business is about and how to work with a business development model known as the lean canvas.

Taylor, 15 and a sophomore at Farmington High School, said he enrolled in the camp because he was looking for something to do this summer. He has learned much about entrepreneurship and how to build a skateboard, he said. Montgomery’s skateboard was part of the 60-second pitch.

This was the first year for Start Up Junkie to be a co-sponsor. The consulting firm assists Northwest Arkansas entrepreneurs on starting their businesses. Phyl Amerine, a spokesman for Start Up, said she hopes the co-sponsorship continues.

Students received hands-on experience in business development and a look at the high tech side of entrepreneurship when they toured the Wal-Mart innovation laboratory, known as the 415C Lab. Instructional sessions focused on marketing, management and operations, and financing a venture. The camp was under the direction of Haley Cleous, an associate consultant with Start Up.

The campers also heard presentations from local entrepreneurs who have started successful businesses, including Josh Moody, CEO of Overwatch; Douglas Hutchings, CEO of Picosolar; and Lauren and Lance Stokes, who founded the Lauren James clothing line.

The students ended the week polishing and delivering their 60-second elevator pitch in a judged competition. The winning team was to receive $500 in seed money to start their own business and a full year’s worth of legal advice from Clark Law Firm.