Group of students posing with gold statue of Goldy Gopher

Business Innovation Academy

Business Innovation Academy is a one-week, interactive, hands-on summer day camp for underrepresented rising 7th- and 8th-graders. Hosted on-campus, the Carlson School aims to ignite students’ passion for learning and provide opportunities to explore higher education and careers in business. The purpose of this summer program is to boost students’ awareness and self-confidence, as well as improve their problem-solving and soft skills. Read more about the Business Innovation Academy experience.

Program Details

Program Eligibility

  • Middle school students who will be entering 7th or 8th grade in the 2023-2024 academic year
  • An interest in learning about business
  • This program is open to all and will center the experience of individuals from historically underrepresented identities in business, including but not limited to:
    • Low socioeconomic status (qualify for free/reduced lunch)
    • Black, Indigenous, or person of color, including Somali, Hmong, and/or Hispanic/Latinx/Chicanx
    • Immigrant or first-generation American
    • Potential first-generation college students (neither parent earned a Bachelor's degree)
    • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, two-spirit 
    • People with disabilities (physical or mental; for example deaf or autistic)

Program Benefits

  • Experience leadership development, an introduction to business, and an age-appropriate case study.
  • Exposure to higher education and career opportunities
  • Develop students’ teamwork, and communication skills
  • Admission to, and participation in, this program does not impact admissions to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities


Schedule at a Glance

There are three week-long sessions held throughout the summer. Students admitted to the program are expected to attend the entire week of their session.

  • July 24-28
  • July 31-August 4
  • August 7-11
MondayWelcome & What Is Business?Team BuildingSelf-confidence and How to Build ItIntro to Case Study
TuesdayIdentity and Student AgencyLeadership WorkshopCampus Tour Business Class - Marketing
WednesdayInnovation & Problem SolvingBusiness Class - Finance & AccountingCase Prep TimeCarlson/Hanson Hall Self-guided Tour
ThursdayThe Revision ProcessBusiness Class - Presentation SkillsFishbowl ActivityWhy College? What Now?
FridayCase & Final Presentation PrepFinal PresentationsVisit from the Raptor CenterUMN Bookstore Visit

Total students served


School districts represented


Students of color

Become a BIA program partner

Some examples of past program partners that have hosted site visits or participated in the case study projects:

Inspire the next generation of your business leaders and talent

The success of this program lies in the engagement from local businesses and business owners to provide a small amount of time and experience. By offering either a chance for a site visit or participating in our case study project, you can open the door to future business careers for these students. Past participants have consistently ranked site visits and the case study presentations as their most enjoyable and impactful experiences as part of the program.

Participate in BIA

For Summer 2023, participation is limited to students from four school districts: Inver Grove Heights, Apple Valley/Eagan/Rosemount, Stillwater, and Forest Lake. Students in these districts should connect with a school counselor.

Representatives of other districts who are interested in participating in the future should contact Angie Murray.