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VIDEO: ODU Event Preps Girls For Future in Entrepreneurism

By Noell Saunders

More than 150 middle school girls recently learned how to start their own businesses at the weeklong Envision Lead Grow entrepreneurial and leadership skills camp at Old Dominion University.

"I'm selling stationery products for offices," said 10-year old Mya McCollum-Truesdale, owner of OnFleek Supplies. "This experience made me even more excited to move my business forward."

The boot camp-style program at Old Dominion's Strome Entrepreneurship Center sharpened the girls' business acumen and helped them dream up ideas and pitch them to potential investors, with help from experts and student mentors.

Envision Lead Grow was founded by Angela D. Reddix, president and CEO of ARDX, a health care management and IT consulting firm in Norfolk.

"What Mrs. Reddix has done is really what all of us need to do. It's called giving back and being part of society," Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick said. "It's trying to ensure that other people have those same chances that we had."

The camp was part of a seven-city bus tour. Weeklong workshops were held at Old Dominion and other higher education institutions in Richmond, Memphis, Tenn., Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Greensboro, N.C.

Reddix said her primary goal was to give young people a chance to turn their dreams into reality.

"It's the mindset of thinking like an entrepreneur, a characteristic that I have found in many of my best employees," Reddix told the girls. "Regardless of whether you choose to have your own business or partner with someone with a business, it's the ability to identify an opportunity and translate it into promise, purpose and success."

Nancy Grden, executive director of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, told the girls that when she was in middle school, she was an entrepreneur but didn't realize it.

"I was so busy starting things. I loved to sell and organize, but I didn't know I was an entrepreneur," Grden said. "You girls are going to have an amazingly quick start in your lives to embrace these incredible skills."

At the end of the camp, the girl with the best business plan won $500 to start her venture, but all were offered mentors to help them continue building the foundation of their businesses.

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