Fifth grade students in front of the Hoff Family, Arts

Local fifth grade students experience hands-on salsa entrepreneurship camp

June 15, 2023

Council Bluffs, IA, June 15, 2023 - TS Bank and the Council Bluffs Community School District teamed up for the third year in a row with various community partners to provide over 25 fifth-grade students from 10 different elementary schools the opportunity to create a salsa "business" through a hands-on entrepreneur camp last week.

The four-day traveling summer camp was held in June at the Council Bluffs Public Library with a special stop at the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center. The final day included a salsa taste-testing opportunity for community members. TS Institute collaborated with several camp partners including Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment, Chef Around the Block, and the Kitchen Council.

On day one, TS Institute's Director of Financial Literacy, Kyle Osborne, challenged students to solve a business problem using the example of a produce stand turned salsa business mirroring the book “Count on Pablo." The students managed the business' budget, developed a business plan to include a business name and brand, created unique recipes to market and collaborated with their team members.

“It’s been really neat to see how each entity involved in this camp plays a role in its success,” said Osborne. “Each partner has extended their hospitality and expertise to impact these students lives.”

Pictured above: Chef Dan Benigo, Chef Around the Block, shows students how to mix up the salsa.

On day two, Chef Dan Benigno of Chef Around the Block, helped the students see the need for quality produce. Chef Dan also talked about flavors, spices and winning salsa combinations. Students then researched the cost of ingredients, created a recipe list and tallied up the cost to determine their profit margin point-of-sale.

“I believe everybody belongs in the kitchen and the way to do that is through education,” said Benigno. “Especially starting young and getting students comfortable around fruits and vegetables, mixing them together and creating things that taste good fosters that ability to be in the kitchen more frequently.”

On day three, TS Institute’s Program Manager, Traci Dresher, walked students through the completion of effective marketing materials. Each team of 4-5 students created a colorful logo and poster for the last day of camp where they showcase their business. Students role-played a sales pitch by introducing themselves, describing their product and offering up a sample, all with eye contact and a smile.

Pictured above: Student shows off their fresh salsa.

The final day of camp concluded with a salsa taste-testing opportunity for community members at PACE. Each group of students presented their sales pitch and invited visitors to taste test their salsa. It was a great day to celebrate all of the hard work the students put in to make their business a reality.

Since 2009, TS Banking Group, the bank holding company of TS Bank, has reinvested over $1.25 million specifically toward increasing financial literacy. Efforts in financial education originally started in the Treynor School District before expanding across southwest Iowa and has impacted over 140,000 students and adults through financial literacy. Additionally, this year TS Bank celebrated its 100-year-anniversary of serving our local communities.

For more information about other financial activities and future career camps, contact Kyle Osborne at

About TS Bank: TS Bank’s mission is to Ignite Prosperity® in the communities it serves. Creating long-term community prosperity, TS Bank reinvests 10 percent of its net income locally; hosting educational events and partners with local organizations and non-profits. TS Bank was chartered in 1923 and has $390 million in assets, along with the largest Iowa state-chartered C-Corp trust department west of Des Moines at nearly $260 million in assets named TS Prosperity Group. Locations include Treynor, Macedonia, Council Bluffs, Atlantic, Corning and Ames, Iowa. For more information, visit