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Alaskan, young & business-minded

Chamber funds scholarships to Alaska Business Week

Posted: March 29, 2013 - 12:14am

By RUSSELL STIGALL

JUNEAU EMPIRE

Alaska’s Chamber of Commerce puts its money where its future is with scholarships to its Business Week event.

Ann Ringstad, Director of the Office of Community Advocacy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and program director for Alaska Business Week, spoke at Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce Business Roundtable lunch lecture.

During their week-long business training at the University of Alaska Fairbanks students are put through eight quarters of a business simulation. Each team’s business is give the resources it needs to find a product line, identify a price point, manufacture a product and convince advisors to buy into the business.

Along the way students are tested with leadership and ethical challenges. Business leaders come from around the state to give presentations. The final exercise requires students to present their business choices to a panel of mentors.

“They get dressed up and defend themselves,” Ringstad said. Winners are presented prizes and awards. “We come up with as many awards as we can.”

The week away from home is a safe, simulated college experience, Ringstad said. Participants even get two college credits from UAF, she said.

“What a cool way to go for a high school student,” Ringstad said.

Former business week attendee Clarissa O’Meyer said adult advisors help, but they also let students find solutions for themselves.

“We started getting the hang of it,” O’Meyer said. “Our stocks were really high.”

O’Meyer said her peers elected her CEO of their company based on her experience in mathematics and business classes. She said her team’s stock prices fell a little in the last quarter due to an incorrect number in the final paperwork.

O’Meyer said the incident taught her an important lesson in leadership.

“It doesn’t matter if it is your fault or not,” O’Meyer said. “It is your fault.”

The week is packed tight with activities, Ringstad said. Students and advisors are often up at 6:30 a.m. and keep at it until 11 p.m. or later. By the middle of the week students are lamenting the lack of time to get it all done.

“And we’re thinking ‘okay, that is how business works, that’s real,’” Ringstad said.

More than 20 Juneau high school students attended the 2012 Business Week. Students were supported by scholarships from the Juneau School District and Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

Business Week 2013 is scheduled for June 1-8 at the UAF campus. Tuition is $475 per student and scholarships are available. The deadline to apply is May 15.

For more information or to enroll visit www.uafleadership.com or call 474-5942.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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