For three decades, high school juniors participating in the Rotary Club’s Enterprise Leadership Conference have built virtual companies.
Launched, supported and funded by Rotary Clubs in San Jose, Los Gatos and Oakland, the annual three-day conference emphasizes teamwork, confidence building and friendship.
Los Altos and Mountain View Rotary volunteers have financed and staffed the conferences since 2008.
The Enterprise Leadership Conference includes activities in which 10 teams of six students – three girls and three boys – develop a concept, business plan, finance structure and marketing strategy as they explore team dynamics and the fundamentals of business.
Students travel by bus to Asilomar for three days of group planning to launch their virtual businesses, learn presentation skills and forge new friendships. Volunteer Rotarian mentors at Asilomar keep the focus on business during the meetings, but they don’t offer suggestions – the results are entirely student motivated.
Next year’s conference is scheduled March 11-13. For rising high school juniors in Los Altos, Campbell, Sunnyvale and Saratoga, the deadline to apply is Dec. 15. Grade-point average is not a criterion, according to Rotary Club representatives, but enthusiasm, leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit are key.
Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos. For more information, visit LosAltosRotary.org.