Summer Camp Teaches Teens Ingenuity, Enterprise, Integrity - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue



Many high school students plan their summer vacations around what malls, beaches, and amusement parks they plan to visit.

But thanks to Brian Jenkins, some 450 teens across the nation will get the chance to maximize their business capital when they apply to compete at the 2009 Entrenuity Summer Business Camp at Wheaton College in Illinois this summer.

In 1999, at age 30, Jenkins created Entrenuity, a not-for-profit youth entrepreneurship organization, based on his desire to apply his Christian faith to business principles. Through his Creating True Wealth curriculum, which has been used worldwide, students learn how greed, corruption, and inappropriate marketplace behaviors threaten business operations.

In an interview with, Jenkins describes his experiences advising start-up businesses and explains why integrity is essential to success. What inspired you to start Entrenuity?

Brian Jenkins: My desire is to make a tangible impact in America’s challenged urban environment with skill-based training that teaches students to start and operate businesses with character and integrity. I am excited about successfully teaching students the fundamentals of business operations. My goal is to encourage them to go beyond their own expectations.

What does Summer Entrenuity Business Camp offer to students?

Entrenuity picks 50 African American and Latino high school students to learn the fundamentals of creating a business and an operational plan in teams. The camp is one week long. Each student earns a $500 stipend. Two students, one male and one female, each receive the Hazel A. King Entrepreneurial Leadership Award in which they get a notebook computer, printer, and software. Students are exposed to developing a [Christian] perspective on their marketplace commitments by applying truths such as treating your customer as you desire to be treated.

Speaking of treating others how you want to be treated, how important is networking and establishing good relationships in business?

If you are seeking capital, seek to develop relationships. Entrenuity “earned” a key relationship with The Soderquist Family Foundation (SFF), which was started and operated by Don Soderquist, the former COO for Walmart. Both SFF and Entrenuity are values-driven organizations with Christian principles serving as the nucleolus of both organizations. As a result of our shared interests, over the past few years, SFF has made considerable charitable contributions to Entrenuity and we have delivered.

For so long you’ve instructed youth about entrepreneurship, but now you own your first for-profit venture. Why did you start Speed Alley Racing?

Speed Alley Racing was born from my wife’s and my desire to seek a fun and unique birthday party option for our son. Speed Alley is a 2,000-square-foot model car and slot car racing facility located in Westmont, Illinois. It is a fun, unique, and a competitive racing experience.

What lessons did you learn when you started Speed Alley?

Unfortunately, I was forced to remove my former business partner at Speed Alley from all aspects of operations because he was trying to take control of the business. I was able to survive because I owned 51% of the business, and I maintained my character through the entire process. The lesson I learned: It is best to start a business partnership with someone who has demonstrated shared values over a period of time.

Join the Conversation

Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.