Central Lakes College recently hosted the American Indian Business Leader Student Camp in Brainerd.
Students age 11-16 from Nay Ah Shing School, Onamia, prepared a business plan for the creation of the Maiingan School Store to raise funds for a number of worthy endeavors, including books for the library and healthy snacks for vending machine dispensing.
The closing celebration included a skit representing the type of transactions that could occur at the market. Items the envisioned store might sell include school supplies, clothing with a school logo, snacks, quilting knits, necklaces, bracelets, and beadwork.
The Nay Ah Shing Drum Group provided a closing honor song.
A panel provided feedback to the students and offered several tips to ensure the success of such a concept. Panelists included Dennis Olson, Mille Lacs Band Commissioner of Education; Gail Kulick, Corporate Commissioner; Don Hickman, Initiative Foundation; Andy Wells III, Wells Technology; and John Gunstad, economic development specialist
Panelists asked the students to consider how to staff the store, what hours to operate, and where to locate it. It was noted that sales opportunities might occur at pow wows and home athletic events.
Hickman pointed out that students engaged in the potential business operation coincidentally might attain academic improvement. “The school board might be interested in that,” he said of the quest for approval of the enterprise.
CLC participants in the closing ceremony included Dr. Larry Lundblad, president; Rebecca Best, dean of workforce, economic and regional development; Mary Sam, director of diversity; Greg Bergman, director of the Small Business Development Center; and Kori Busho and Charles and Kathryn Black Lance.
Mary Simon, principal of Nay Ah Shing, supervised the camp.