Jay Bock's three-day assignment was to share his knowledge about establishing a business with Brainerd High School students.
His audience: More than 150 Brainerd High School juniors and seniors in general economics classes. They wanted to know more about entrepreneurship.
Bock, a former banker and ex-athlete, engaged his young audience with the interactive question format. A chorus of voices usually kept the flow of information streaming in the desired two-way engagement of thought.
Jay Bock, a member of the Central Lakes College customized training staff through the Business and Industry Center, taught Brainerd High School students about business start-up. His workshop was part of an effort to promote entrepreneurship with students in the region.
"How do you get paid in a sole proprietorship?"
"What happens if your partner in a company dies and his drug-addicted son, through inheritance, becomes your new partner?"
"What affect does a corporate bankruptcy have on you as one of the individuals owning it?"
Granted, most of these students are dreaming of graduation and planning to move on to college. Not many are building a business plan of have an idea of what sort of business to start.
"My students nevertheless have shown great interest in what Jay Bock has to say," said BHS economics instructor Dave Borash. He and colleague Chris Halverson had prepared them through the study of business organizational options and topics.
"This presentation couldn't come at a better time, as the students had questions about the start-up process that I couldn't answer," Borash said.
For several years Bock has led a monthly, three-hour Going into Business for Yourself workshop in the Business and Industry Center at the college. Participants pay from $29 to $49 each.
At BHS, Bock's three-day commitment totaled 18 hours - six periods each day. He was running on fumes by the end of the first day.
The cause was driven by a late-summer working lunch among several economy and workforce partners. The group included: Rebecca Best, dean workforce development and regional economic development at CLC; Lisa Paxton, Brainerd Lakes Chamber chief executive officer; Sheila Haverkamp, Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corp. executive director; and Brent Gunsbury, of the BLADC board chairman.
They decided one way to foster small business growth as one element toward a stronger local economy might be to promote entrepreneurship with students.
Andrea Rusk, BHS principal, supported the concept, and that led to a coordinating session to offer the workshop. Greg Bergman, director of the Small Business Development Center at CLC, jumped at the chance to support the cause.
"This is a great opportunity for Central Lakes College to partner with BHS to share the knowledge of some if its talented faculty," Bergman said. "In addition to working with existing businesses, part of our role at the Small Business Development Center is to encourage young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career option and we hope this project will accomplish that."
CLC president Larry Lundblad also sees the timing for such a workshop as critical.
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