Youth Business Summit draws local students to business-centered workshops, competitions

Ridgecrest Christian School brought home three of the top four awards.

Ridgecrest Christian School brought home three of the top four awards.

Over 200 high school juniors and seniors from the Wiregrass participated Wednesday in the annual Troy University Youth Business Summit held on the Dothan Campus. At the end of the event, six students came away with scholarships to TROY.

Twelve local schools attended half a day of workshops on different aspects of business taught by area professionals and TROY faculty. In addition to the workshops, students also had the opportunity to compete in several contests, including a “Shark Tank”-style Business Plan Competition, a Social Media Contest aimed at creating the best social media plan for Todd Farms and a Financial Investment Competition.

“This project has been very worthwhile over the years,” said Dr. Skip Ames, a judge in the business competition and a lecturer in the Sorrell College of Business on the Dothan Campus. “What really energizes us as faculty is the fact that these students want to be involved in business and they want to succeed. No matter who wins, the point is these students had an idea and were motivated enough to try.”

Ridgecrest Christian School (RCS) took home the top awards in both the business plan and social media contests, earning each team member a $500 scholarship to TROY. Geneva County High School came first in the Financial Investment Competition.

Ridgecrest Christian School students pose with the Top TROY Champion trophy.
Ridgecrest Christian School won the Business Plan Competition, the Social Media Contest and the Top TROY Champion award.

RCS was also named the Top TROY Champion of the day, the highest award given that represents exemplary achievements in all competitive categories.

“Ridgecrest Christian School would like to express our gratitude to our students and mentors for representing us so well at TROY’s Youth Summit,” said Theresa Cumbie, administrator at RCS. “We find comfort in knowing that our future rests in the hands of such brilliant minds. Congratulations on a great win!”

Held annually since 2017, the Youth Business Summit was created in part to expose high school students to the many facets of business they can explore in their academic and professional careers. The event also introduces them to all the resources TROY has to offer.

“Thirty percent of students who attend the Youth Business Summit go on to become Trojans,” said Dr. Dewey Todd, Assistant Dean of the Sorrell College of Business. “This an excellent way to familiarize young, business-minded students with the Sorrell College of Business and Troy University and also introduce our services, such as Admissions, Records, Student Services/TRIO and Financial Aid. Additionally, we’re also informing them of opportunities many of them don’t know exist, like the Small Business Development Center and the IDEA Bank as well as local organizations, the Chamber of Commerce and our many sponsors. We’re proud to see so many local high schools represented here year after year.”

Event coordinators Tatum McClendon and Kay Petersen said they enjoy getting to show students around campus and the different avenues TROY can provide them, outside of the business route.

“The Youth Business Summit is a great way to introduce local students to our campus, not only for trying to get them into the business world, but getting them here on campus so we can show them all the other avenues for them once they leave high school,” McClendon said.

Petersen added, “We want the area youth to know there is a great university local to them, and that they do have options. It’s a very gratifying experience for us to help students find their career paths. We just want them to know they don’t have to go far, there’s a great university close to home that will make them feel like family.”

Geneva County High School students pose with Dr. Dewey Todd after receiving the first place award in the Financial Investment Competition.
Geneva County High School students placed first in the Financial Investment Competition.

Award winners were:

Business Plan Competition: Nora Nixon, Esther Hobbs, Gemma Sommer (Ridgecrest Christian School)

Financial Investment Competition: Hayden Hughes, Ryan Fuller, Nicolas Simmons (Geneva County High School)

Social Media Contest: Brynley Bradshaw, Isabella Beaty, Ruthie Sommer (Ridgecrest Christian School)

Students from Ashford, Cottonwood, Dale County, Geneva County, the Houston County Career Academy, Houston County High School, Kinston, Poplar Springs, Rehobeth, Ridgecrest, Samson and Wicksburg were all represented.

The Youth Business Summit is held annually each spring. Click here for more information.