July 05, 2007

Young entrepreneurs face off in breakfast challenge

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Can high school students really be successful entrepreneurs? Do they have the leadership, sales techniques, ambition and skills? Twenty-two youths participating in CampCEO at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will find out during the Breakfast at Quatro's Entrepreneurship Challenge, slated for 7:30-10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11. Public participation is most important, organizers say.


Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the Breakfast at Quatro's Entrepreneurship Challenge. For more information, call Quatro's at 618/549-5326 or the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center at 618/453-3805.


The challenge activity for CampCEO is similar to the competition featured on Donald Trump's popular "The Apprentice". Two 11-member teams are formulating their very own breakfast pizzas, setting prices, marketing and promoting their products. The also will assist in operating Quatro's Wednesday morning for the sale of the competing breakfast foods.

Customers will pick the winning team, as the team bringing in the most revenue from the breakfast crowd will earn the title in the Breakfast at Quatro's Entrepreneurship Challenge. Steve Payne, owner of Quatro's for 31 years, is a longtime supporter and board member of the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center at SIUC. He said he is glad to open the doors of his business in time for breakfast to support the center and offer a venue for young entrepreneurs to test their skills. Quatro's, located at 222 W. Freeman St. in Carbondale's Campus Shopping Center, doesn't normally serve breakfast, but is opening especially for this event.

"We want to try to give the kids a practical venue," Payne said. "Theory is great, but to be able to give young entrepreneurs the opportunity to try a new potential trade and apply what they've learned about business is something different. It will allow the kids to move forward in their business careers."

CampCEO begins Sunday and runs through Friday. During the week, participants will create business plans and develop skills in negotiations, sales, customer service, leadership, problem solving, networking, time management, record keeping and public speaking. They'll engage in leadership training, business site visits, networking receptions, a professional etiquette dinner, games and competitions and will hear guest speakers. Camp participants from Southern Illinois, Chicago and around the state are getting hands-on entrepreneurial experience.

They'll be jumping right in to prepare for the Entrepreneurship Challenge too. Monday evening, they'll develop their product and marketing plan, working alongside Quatro's cooks to create their special products. They will then formulate promotional plans in late-night sessions with marketing and advertising professionals at the Arthur Agency. The next morning they'll be targeting the campus and region with their campaigns to draw a crowd to Wednesday's breakfast event.

"In order to grow the entrepreneurial spirit in Illinois, we must instill in our youth that owning their own business is a viable, attainable career path," said Emily Carter, center director. "We see CampCEO as a key first step in planting that idea. This year we have young people from all across Illinois coming to camp and we look forward to introducing them to leaders in the business community as well as showcasing the many resources of the University."