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Camp Innoventure students in the Makerspace at Speare Hall creating items they sold at the Farmers Market on Saturday. Pictured at the work table are Nate Phillips, Yuna Ryu, I’nyn Romero and Iriana Valentino. In the foreground are Maker-space’s Josh Lipnick and Camp Innoventure leader Sooraj Bhatia.
Last week 11 Socorro middle school students took a camping trip, except the trip was just to the New Mexico Tech campus and the camp itself was only three hours each morning.
Camp Innoventure was a week of learning how to start your own business, and then actually doing it.
The students – ranging from fifth to ninth grade – brainstormed business ideas, wrote a mission statement, put together a short business plan, and manufactured products which they marketed at last Saturday’s Farmer’s Market Saturday on the plaza.
Basically, it’s an entrepreneurship camp for middle school students, much like a junior version of Tech’s Entrepreneur and Inventors Workshop.
Student entrepreneur Sooraj Bhatia, led the week-long camp. Bhatia has participated in the Wolves Den competition at the Inventors Workshop, Engineers Without Borders and the Studio G business incubator. While Bhatia was the primary teacher, Josh Lipnick, another Tech student, is assisted him by demonstrating a 3-D printer, drone, Arduinos, and virtual reality in the Makerspace in Speare Hall.
“Camp Innoventure gives students a unique opportunity to bring their ideas to life – and make money,” Bhatia said.
On sale at the plaza Saturday were toy cars made by Nate Phillips with a 3-D printer. Iriana Vanlentino created what she called pom-pom puffs. Other students made and sold small cloth bags, earbud holders, Mason jar terrariums and whimsical t-shirts.
Each Camp Innoventure session ran about three hours per day. The students received $25 in seed money for supplies and get to keep any profits they make from their business venture.
The camp was part of the Innoventure suite of entrepreneurship educa tion programs offered by Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University. Other Camp Innoventure sessions were held in Las Cruces, Sunland Park, Deming, Alamogordo, Silver City, Cobre, Roswell, Los Ranchos, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Farmington.
Organizers believe the program nurtures a new generation of innovators with skills in technical design and business and financial savvy, and gives young people a deeper understanding of how technical advances are made and brought to the marketplace.