The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Shawnee Community College (SCC) recently held the 11th annual ELITE Business Skills Camp July 8-11.

ELITE (Educate, Lead, and Inspire Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs) is an entrepreneur camp hosted on the main campus of Shawnee Community College for students in grades seventh through ninth. The camp is coordinated jointly by the Illinois SBDC at Shawnee College, University of Illinois Extension and the Southernmost Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone.

Each year, campers attend presentations by local leaders who share their wisdom for obtaining business success.

This year's speakers were Susan Odum, an Extension educator in community development with the University of Illinois Extension; Tim Frizell, speech and theatre instructor at SCC; and Curt Jones, creator of Dippin' Dots and Forty Below Joe.

The Elite Camp also includes a competition where students utilize the skills they learn during the week to develop a business plan and create their own marketing presentation to promote their business.

Campers compete for one of three $100 prizes with winners selected for the best overall business plan, most creative business plan and the camp's Shining Star Award. The Shining Star Award is given to the camper who demonstrated the best overall attitude and for providing assistance/encouragement to fellow campers.

The winners for this year's camp were:

• Best Overall Business Plan: Jayda Wright of Ullin

• Most Creative Business Plan: Blake Schneider of Dongola

• Shining Star: Felicity Logan-Davis of Karnak

In addition to the presentations and competition portion of the camp, attendees also participate in a field trip where they received hands-on business experience at several locally owned businesses.

Speaking on behalf of the camp, Brett Whitnel, SBDC interim director at SCC, commented, "We are grateful for another successful camp this year. Our participating organizations, including the in-kind sponsorship from many local businesses in the district, truly help us to prepare our future business leaders in southernmost Illinois."

For more information about Elite Camp or the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Shawnee College, contact Whitnel at 618-634-3213.

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