TS bank employees and students attending camp

Student entrepreneurs cultivate salsa "businesses" through hands-on experience

August 6, 2021 | TS Bank

Council Bluffs, Iowa, August 6, 2021 – TS Bank and the Council Bluffs Community School District teamed up with various community partners to provide fifth-grade students the opportunity to create their own salsa "business" through a hands-on experience. 

The five-day traveling summer camp was held in July with stops at TS Bank, CreekTop Gardens and Kitchen Council. The final day included a salsa taste-testing opportunity for community members. Additional camp partners included The 712 InitiativeChef Around the Block and Big Muddy Urban Farm.

On day one, TS Bank's Director of Financial Literacy, Kyle Osborne, challenged students to solve a business problem using the example of a produce stand turned salsa business. Nearly 30 students managed the business' budget, developed a business plan–including business name and brand, created new recipes to market and collaborated with their team members. Additionally, Chef Dan Benigno of Chef Around the Block, helped the students see the need for quality ingredients and a good balance in their recipe selections. 

“One of the great joys I have is to see students take a problem and solve it with creativity, teamwork and passion. The camp was born out of the goal to connect students to fresh food and entrepreneurial principles,” said Osborne. 

5th grade entrepreneur camp kids cooking

On day two, students visited the Creektop Community Gardens, run by The 712 Initiative, with lessons led by Sophia Cooper, Intern at Big Muddy Urban Farm. They explored the wonder of the garden, learned how to start a garden of their own and how to harvest vegetables. 

When asked about the experience, Cooper said, "It was a delight to lead students in discovering all the possibilities a community garden holds and how it can aid them in a start-up of their own businesses. Students were so eager to be hands-on and learn about food production. This camp helps plant seeds of ideas for students to envision their own business and how they want to impact the world."

5th grade entrepreneur camp adults sampling salsa

On day three of camp, students finalized their recipe, budget, logo, poster and practiced their sales pitch. Day four of camp included one last trip to CreekTop Gardens, and on the final day students chopped vegetables and prepared their recipes on-site at Kitchen Council in the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center. The community was invited to taste test the students’ salsa creations.

“Education of our children today is an investment in our future. Any chance I have to help kids eat their fruits and vegetables, I'll take it. I was eager to see what kind of imaginations the kids had in creating some new salsa flavors,” said Benigno.

5th grade entrepreneur camp salsas

“It’s been fun to see each community partner show up with their passion and expertise and pour into these students," said Osborne. "They've walked away with great friendships, business experience and financial savviness.”

Since 2009, TS Banking Group (the bank holding company of TS Bank) has reinvested over $1.25 million specifically toward increasing financial literacy through a division called TS Institute®. Efforts in financial education originally started in the Treynor School District before expanding across southwest Iowa. Over the past few years, this financial literacy programming has grown to include North Dakota and Illinois through TS Banking Group's additional bank charters.

For more information about other financial activities and future career camps contact Kyle Osborne at kyle.osborne@tsinstitute.org.

About TS Bank: TS Bank’s mission is to Ignite Prosperity® in the communities it serves. Leading the resurgence of community banking, TS Bank reinvests 10 percent of their net income locally; hosting educational events and partners with local organizations and non-profits. TS Bank was chartered in 1923 and has $365 million in assets, along with the largest Iowa state-chartered C-Corp trust department west of Des Moines at nearly $218 million in assets named TS Prosperity Group. Locations include Treynor, Macedonia, Atlantic, Corning, Council Bluffs and Ames, Iowa. For more information, visit tsbank.com.