LAB: Sparking the Entrepreneurial Spirit


Northwood University once again showed its commitment to igniting the entrepreneurial spirit as it welcomed the Learning About Business (LAB) Free-Enterprise camp June 22-27. 

Now in its 35th year of existence, LAB chose Northwood University’s scenic Midland, Michigan campus to host 45 high school sophomores and juniors who displayed a passion for business and a desire to get a head start on their professional futures. The six day program put students in a business simulation, where they learned about the challenges and decision making processes they are very likely to face in their careers.

Led by the Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity & Enterprise, students were placed into teams with the challenge of designing, manufacturing, and selling their own car. Participants engaged in a week-long competition which tested their teamwork, business acumen, and communication skills. The unique program honed in on a different business aspect each day, and teams had to make tough decisions in the computer simulated marketplace with the goal of besting their “competition.” Learning both business strategies and life skills, the simulation challenged the thought processes of the teams and helped them to think on their feet as they discovered all of the decisions which go into running a business. This experience gave these students a jump start into their future by introducing them to new opportunities and giving them the tools to create their own. 

Beyond the competition, participants had significant learning and networking opportunities with over thirty business professionals such as Kristin Wuerfel, Marketing Director, MCFTA and Scott Walker, CEO of Midland Tomorrow. Interactive activities and simulation decisions circulated around a different theme for each day: teambuilding & leadership, fundamentals of business, marketing, international business, management and entrepreneurship. Each topic came with its own seminars, experiential workshops, and presentations offering attendees an expanded worldview and a fundamental grasp of the concepts of our free enterprise system.

Designed for future business students as well as future decision makers and leaders, LAB gave young students a taste of how the world of business operates along with the opportunity to make lifelong friends and continue building and developing skills which will serve beneficial to them in college and beyond. In giving some of Michigan’s best and brightest high school students the tools to achieve success, the LAB Free-Enterprise camp is just one more example of Northwood University’s commitment to developing the future leaders of a global, free-enterprise society.

- Northwood senior, Kristin Hammond