Hi, Kevin here. One of the monumental crossroads in my life as an entrepreneur was my experience at BestPrep’s Minnesota Business Venture camp in the late 1990s. As a young high school punk and into rollerblading at the time, I received an invitation from BestPrep in the mail. The thought of going to a business camp was too nerdy to even consider at that moment in time.
But I didn’t toss the invitation – I put it next to my bed.
After a few weeks, my parents reminded me of my entrepreneurial spirit from lemonade stands to my business plan on developing a de-icing machine for our lovely winter Minnesota roads.
If you are unfamiliar with the BestPrep organization, “BestPrep is a statewide nonprofit organization with a mission to prepare students with business, career and financial literacy skills through hands-on experiences that inspire success in work and life.”
20 Years later, I am glad I actually listened to my parents on this one. There are only a few experiences I can say that changed my life to a different direction in such a dramatic fashion. After that week at St. Olaf, I absolutely knew I wanted to run my own company some day – no matter what.
Why was it such a positive experience? Well, I got to:
- Meet REAL business owners from different backgrounds who talked about the good – and the bad – of their industries and running an organization.
- Create my own practice business (for me it was a sandwich shop) from the logo to the business plan.
- See that owning a business was a real opportunity for anyone with the gumption to do it.
- Do mock interviews and participate in events that would never happen in school.
Finally, and most importantly, I got to hear one of my heroes speak. Although the brand is a far cry of what it was in the 1990s, back then Geek Squad was an amazing IT company and ground breaking for the time. They had sought after tech jobs, had great branding, focused on personal advancement and had very high standards on the products they sold.
Listening to Robert Stephens speak at the Minnesota Business Venture Camp on what it was like to own, operate, brand and succeed as an owner of an IT company completely blew my mind. It set the seed and precedence on what I put forth today on Network Medics’ culture, product standards and ethics.
If you have a child that has the entrepreneurial spirit, make sure they get involved with BestPrep. I guarantee if you get past the geek factor it will influence their life. Personally, I look forward to Network Medics’ now growing official support of BestPrep. I will be present this month as a mock interviewer at their 2015 Minnesota Business Venture Camp in St. Cloud.
Written rather poorly by:
Kevin Calgren, Partner
UPDATE: Kevin was welcomed onto the BestPrep Technology Subcommittee in August of 2015.