How to Prepare a Young Student for a Career in Business: ELC

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The Enterprise Leadership Conference (ELC) is a three day conference for juniors in high school held February 24-26 this a three day conference for juniors in high school held February 24-26 this year.  It is a joint venture between the Los Gatos Morning, Los Gatos Noon, and Downtown San Jose Rotary Clubs.  96 students are selected from IMG_3141applications from 29 local high schools including our sponsored Interact Clubs at Leigh and Westmont.  The students are divided into 12 teams of 4 boys and 4 girls and an attempt is made to have all 8 students from different schools so they don’t know each other.  The goal for each team is to select a product, form a company, and make a presentation to judges on Friday.

The first day begins in downtown San Jose with bagels and juice and their first chance to get to know each other as a team.  One of the ice breakers is the egg drop from 5 stories up exercise…always a challenge to keep that egg from breaking.  The students are guests of the downtown San Jose club and remain for the Wednesday meeting where ELC has a featured speaker.  The buses are loaded after the meeting for the drive to Asilomar in Pacific Grove.  Many of the students have never stayed in a hotel or eaten in a restauranIMG_3118t so the new experiences are many.  The day is not over until dinner and an evening of fun and games meant to help with the team building.

Thursday continues with seminar style presentations on topics such as developing a business plan, financial plans, finding the money to develop your product, ethics, and an exit strategy.  In between the teams meet together to do the work on their company and presentation.  With a few hours downtime at the beach they are refreshed and ready to get back to work.  After dinner the teams play a series of “games” and based on each team’s performance in the games their slot for presentation elon Friday is selected.

Friday morning is spent polishing presentations and speaking skills and then the teams give their (10 minute maximum) presentation with competition for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place but ALL the teams are winners.  After pictures and pizzas the students are loaded back on the busses for the trip back to San Jose.

The students make friends and also connect with the adult mentors for their group.  Each group is assigned two discussion group leaders (DGs) who provide support and build confidence but the work is done by the teams.  If you are interested in being a DG please let me know…we have some openings.  It is inspiring and lots of fun to be a part of ELC.   Thank you to Los Gatos Morning Rotary for making ELC a part of your budget…ELC has definitely made a difference in many of the lives of these students.IMG_2270

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