2017 Enterprise Institute
 April 28-30 2017
Our 35th Year
An Overview
The Enterprise Institute of the Rotary Club of Oakland was started in 1982. Over the last 33 years the program has been refined into its current form and it will continue to change as the times and business methods and technologies evolve. During the 2-1/2 days of the Institute, high school juniors from the public, private, and chartered high schools in Oakland, Piedmont and Emeryville work in discussion groups of six -to- eight students. These groups  also include a Peer Counselor (a returning outstanding student participant from the previous year, now a senior) and at least one Rotarian acting as a Discussion Group Mentor. Each group, comprised of students from different schools, learns about the opportunities and challenges that real businesses face through review and discussion of course materials and presentations by subject area specialists in marketing, budgeting, and business plan development.   In each group members collaborate to prepare and make presentations of solutions developed to address business problems and issues.  Each group's final presentation is a business plan which demonstrates the creativity of the group members and their understanding of business concepts and skills.
In addition to these activities there are: other discussions and presentations, including training on presentation skills  and public speaking; a keynote address with a motivational message from a business leader;  free time for recreational activities; and, a talent show on Saturday night.  A great hands-on introduction to the business world.  There is no cost to the participant or their school.
If you have any questions or if you are club member and would like to sign-up for the 2017 Enterprise Institute Committee, please contact Debo Sarkar Committee Co-chair at  917 658 9220 or at DeboSarkarORC@gmail.com
Since its inception, the Enterprise Institute has been held at Camp Monte Toyon in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains near the City of Aptos. Approximately 60 students are selected each year.The selection process can be difficult because there have often been many more qualified students than the spaces available.
Rotarians visit schools to recruit students for the institute. Juniors are invited to apply for the institute. They are presented with a summary of the Institute and the activities, and those interested are given a packet that includes an overview, an application, information, contact and a parental/guardian release form. They are strongly encouraged to review the packet at home with their parents or guardians. If after the review, the students decide to apply, they must submit the application by the due date - January 29th.
Those students who are selected to participate are sent a letter of acceptance, a check list of the items that they should and may bring to camp, information for their parents or guardians as to the date and time and where the students should gather (the Rotary office in downtown Oakland) and the phone numbers at the camp where the parents can reach them in case of an emergency.
Upon arrival at the Rotary office, each student is checked in, given their Institute binder, Institute T- shirt along with other items and placed in their assigned discussion group. In addition to participants, each discussion group consists of a Peer Counselor (who was an outstanding participant from the previous year) and at least one Oakland Rotarian.
After some “ice breaking” exercises, the participants will board buses with  Rotarians and Peer Counselors, for the trip to Camp Monte Toyon. The camp is located in a beautiful setting amid the redwoods. There are separate men’s and women’s dorms, each containing adult Rotarians, who act as chaperones. At night there are Rotarians who patrol the grounds.  The food is tasty and bountiful. There is planned “free time” for campers to kick back, play basketball or volleyball, and accompanied nature walks.  On the Saturday night  there is a talent show with Rotarians, Peer Counselors, and participants joining in. The campers are not allowed to leave the Camp at any time other than on any pre-planned outings and only with the Rotarians.
All participants receive certificates of completion for college reference and they are encouraged to ask for references from the Rotarians present. It is a terrific the way for the students, most of whom who have never met before, to work together as a team.
The students are able to meet and interact with juniors from many other schools; students they would not have met without this experience. They also have the opportunity to talk with the Rotarians present in the relaxed situation of the camp -- Rotarians who are successful in their own lives and businesses. The Rotarians are happy to answer the questions posed by the students. Many students have later asked for internships or jobs.
2016 was  the 34th year of the Institute. Some of our participants from past years, after becoming successful in their business lives, have joined Rotary and are, or have been,  actively involved in the Enterprise Institute. For example, Daniel Mai was the Committee Chair for 2012-13 and Harold Lowe has been a speaker and facilitator.
These are the schools that have participated in recent years:
Oakland HS
Oakland Tech
Skyline HS
Head Royce
College Prep
Emery HS
Arise HS
Piedmont HS
St. Elizabeth HS
Holy Names HS 
Life Academy
Bishop O ’Dowd HS
Lighthouse HS
Envision HS