“It’s a program that we have been doing for 33 years now,” Gena McGroarty, associate vice president of communications for the South Carolina Chamber, told Palmetto Business Daily. “We’ve sent over 6,000 students through the program. I believe students from every county in the state except one have participated.”
McGroarty said the premise of the program is to get students interested in business before they go to college by using a collaborative business environment and free market enterprise.
“I am representing the business community and of course our business community people love it — Michelin, Colonial Life, a lot of big companies will send advisers to help guide students throughout their week," McGroarty said. "And so it is a really good partnership between education and business, which is one of the key things the chamber pushes on a yearly basis,”
Students are introduced to the principles of leadership, teamwork and the American free enterprise system while promoting self-reliance, individual responsibility and entrepreneurship; and the program is fully sponsored by the business community. Students are only required to pay a $50 fee upon acceptance.
“The first thing, as a representative of business, we hear businesses talking about the need for a talented workforce both now and in the future,” McGroarty said. “So this program is sort of a way that business and education can combine to start that process because you are taking kids who are 15, 16, 17 years old and educating them about what they can achieve if they take certain paths depending on what their experience is at Business Week.”
The program provides a variety of business-oriented, entrepreneurship and financial workshops to the students attending Business Week. In addition, the program offers approximately $20,000 in scholarships at the end of the week.
“In my opinion, it is one of the best things we do here at the chamber," McGroarty said. "It really is a sort of pay it forward to the community type of thing — just getting students exposure to experiences and situations they wouldn’t be exposed to in an educational setting. They’ll be working with groups to figure out how to build a budget and stay under it, and get a project done in a certain time frame, stuff you be exposed to in an office setting but not in a school setting, which is neat.”
McGroarty added that many of the students who have attended Business Week have gone on to pursue notable ventures.
“One of our students is going on to get his Ph.D. from Duke," McGroarty said. "We have others who have interned for ESPN after getting out of Business Week. So there is a lot of cool stuff the students are doing as well."
Business Week will be held on the campus of Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina from July 24 –29.
1301 Gervais St
Columbia, SC 29201