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Ohio Business Week continues helping student entrepreneurs

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An Ohio grassroots program in July marked its 33rd year teaching valuable business skills to students at an annual summer camp.

The Ohio Business Week camp is attended by high school students with an interest in business and entrepreneurship, or who just want to explore different careers. The teens are placed in dynamic simulations where they compete as industry professionals, sharpen their skills and face real-world challenges. The goal of the program is to give students a competitive edge in college preparation, workplace readiness and overall life success.

Typically, all students, speakers and volunteers meet at Ohio University in Athens for a weeklong learning experience. However, this year’s camp was held at six locations across the state due to COVID-19, according to Cory Dippold, executive director of the Ohio Business Week Foundation. The program was condensed to one day and drew 56 students from across Ohio and beyond, he said.

"This year, two adult volunteer mentors met with each group of students daily at a location close to their hometown,” Dippold said. “The speakers, judges and other mentors presented over Zoom."

Business leaders lend their expertise

The speakers each year are business leaders who volunteer their time and resources to support students on their journey in entrepreneurship during and after the OBW camp. Each small, student group is assigned a business leader who gives advice and expertise on how to turn a concept into reality.

Business speakers for the 2021 event included Michael Kroeger, CEO of Ingage Partners; BJ Duckworth, program coordinator of OBW; Josh Thompson, VP of Creative and Marketing –; Rosalyn Ransaw, digital marketing manager of Red Roof Inn Corporate; Treva Jeffries, administrator of Toledo Public Schools; Dave Stockslager, director of operations of The Wendy’s Co.; John Kahl, CEO of Shurtape/Ducktape; and Pete Blackshaw, CEO of Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund & Startup.

Totally Promotional created T-shirts and lanyards for participants of this year’s event.

History of the Ohio Business Week camp

The nonprofit Ohio Business Week Foundation began the camp program at Ashland University on July 9, 1989. That year it attracted 97 students from 30 Ohio counties. Since then, the foundation has impacted more than 6,500 students through 51 camps on seven college campuses. The students often make life-long friends during OBW camp.

The camp is open to any high school student who holds a C or higher grade-point average and is endorsed by a high school teacher, counselor, coach or administrator. The 2022 event will be held at Ohio University from July 10-16. Students can apply online at

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