It has been said that three is a charm, and being the third successful year for the "Mind Your Own Business" workshop at Roane State Community College in Crossville, that adage appears to be true. The kids at this year's workshop came away with more than what it takes to become business owners from the ground up; they took with them self-confidence, exciting plans for their futures, and best of all, lasting friendships.

Bradley J. Fox, associate professor of Social Science, Business and Education at Roane State Community College, put the workshop together with Amanda McGinnis and Colton Hood. The objective of the workshop was to teach the kids how to create and present a business plan that included start-up, business image, promotions, advertising and operations of a business from the standpoint of an owner. Hiring employees and rates of pay were included in the plan.

With their guidance, the kids absorbed a genuine understanding of the practical aspects of starting a business. They also developed communication and problem-solving skills through activities designed to strengthen their ability to work as a team. The kids received hands-on experience designing their own business cards, flyers, and powerpoint presentations. Not only did they have an opportunity to create a radio advertisement for their enterprises, Tony Perry came in to film a real commercial!

There were four teams, ranging in groups of two to four in each team, that worked hard all week to plan their enterprises and prepare a presentation that was to be judged by a panel of business professionals. The evaluations were based on their presentations and speeches, followed by random questions directed to individuals, and some related to the team as a whole.

On Friday, the last day of the workshop, excitement was in the air as the judging of the presentations took place. A panel of four judges that included Amy New, with Tennessee Economic Development; Rich Soenen, with Junior Achievement; Angela Pennington and Karen Cole, both with Progressive Savings bank, all volunteered to spend their day evaluating the presentations. They enjoyed watching, as each team demonstrated professionalism, self confidence and genuine belief in their enterprises. Impressive was the fact that there was no rivalry present, only support for one another as a team, as well as the group as a whole.

The Best Enterprise award went to Shawn Mitchell, Andy Smith and Tori Smith, who, unfortunately, was not present. Their enterprise was Otaku Central, a store specializing in the popular anime style products that include, but are not limited to, books, comic books, art supplies and related products. The enthusiasm put forth in their presentation was tangible and Mitchell stated, "I am going to have a business like this one day!"

Runner-up for Best Enterprise was Jammin Books, run by Haley Mitchell, Jake Moody and Isaiah Willier. Their business was designed to offer the adults in the community a haven in which to indulge their love of reading and music. Throughout the week it was discovered that Mitchell possesses leadership skills; Willier tapped into his analytical self; and Moody found an appreciation for music.

There were two Honorable Mentions awarded. One went to Bundle of Joy, owned and operated by Maggie Cooper and Allyna Kerley. Their planning and organizational skills were evident as they presented their business plans. They were thrilled to discover about themselves that "we have business skills we didn't know we had!"

The other Honorable Mention was awarded to Smoothie Central, a fun and exciting shop put together by Abigail Wightman, Alex Smith, Hannah Saddler and Lilly Dycus. The focus of their business was providing fresh ingredients to their customers for a healthy and refreshing treat! The greatest gift shared by everyone at the workshop was summed up nicely by the owners of Smoothie Central, "It has been great to get to know each other on a deeper level!"

The workshop wrapped up with a delicious hot dog barbecue for everyone. Plans are already in the works for next year's Mind Your Own Business. All kids in grades sixth through eighth are welcome to attend. For more information, Brad Fox can be reached at RSCC at 456-4910.


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