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Immokalee students are all business, after competing in their own "Shark Tank"

Incoming 9th and 10th graders in the Immokalee Foundation spent two weeks creating business proposals from apps and apparel to cleaning products.
IMMOKALEEFGCUSHARKTANK
Posted at 10:53 PM, Jul 03, 2024

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Building a business is no easy task, but students in The Immokalee Foundation now have the skills to create the business of their dreams.

Incoming 9th and 10th graders spent two weeks creating business proposals from apps and apparel to cleaning products.

Immokalee Foundation FGCU
Students with the Immokalee Foundation learn about building businesses.

"It opens your mind. You get to explore new ideas," Immokale student Nereida said.

FGCU brought in a former student to run this year's business camp, with The Immokalee Foundation.

Quay Longs created a company called Strive Hall to connect students from under resourced communities with higher education.

Immokalee Foundation FGCU
Quay Long used what he learned as a business student at FGCU to teach others how to build their own businesses.

"There's a perspective of college from these types of communities where they don't see it as an opportunity for success, and me coming here and getting my masters degree in entrepreneurship, it changed my perspective on life, so we wanted to build something to help students," Quay Longs said.

Longs comes from a small town in Florida too, so he knows what it's like to grow up in a place like Immokalee.

The last two weeks he taught them everything he learned from FGCU as a business student.

Longs said, "You learn the process of entrepreneurship, so 20 years from now, if you come up with an idea, just use the same process, and you'll be able to make it."

Quay helped the eight teams in the camp through the process including the three students who created Scrubby.

Team member Vanessa described how she felt, "Proud because you guys didn't see it, but before, originally, it was yellow and broken in half."

Scrubby not only cleans but detects when soap or toilet paper need a refill.

Scrubby Ella Rhoades
Immokalee's Community Correspondent Ella Rhoades tries out Scrubby, the idea at the center of one of the business proposals students practiced pitching at the Immokalee Foundation.

The camp taught students how to do finances, marketing, prototypes and research for their proposals.

"It's always fun to learn something new and have different experiences. One time, we went into a college classroom and worked with the students there," Vanessa said.

Scrubby did clean up well. Vanessa, Nereida and Dinimar won first place and a cash prize.

They all said they'll invest the prize money for their future education.

For Longs, it's a full circle moment, business man and educator.

"It's the best of both worlds," he said.