Would you invest in a solar-powered water filter? The concept earned Hutchinson High School senior Maggie Kleiman and her team a tie for first place at a business camp this summer.

Said Kleiman, “783 million people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. Our business plan was for a solar-powered water filter. We also proposed a portable water filter for people in the military. We developed the business plan, designed the product, came up with marketing ideas, and presented our ideas to real business leaders. The business people gave us great feedback, including the benefits and problems with our plan.”

It was all part of BestPrep’s Minnesota Business Venture, a summer program where students split into teams that come up with company names, and learn from mentors from companies such as Allianz Life, Ecolab and Securian Financial. Citizens Bank and Trust Co. is one of its sponsors.

Kleiman, daughter of Chris and Tracy Kleiman, attended the skills camp at St. Cloud State University, and was part of the mock company SolFil.

“I actually learned about MBV from the Hutchinson Leader,” Kleiman said. “Last year you wrote an article about Brianna Manderscheid who attended MBV as a camper and then as a counselor. It sounded like an interesting experience … This year I was looking for leadership development opportunities. I went to RYLA and MN Girls State, worked as a Camp Counselor at Oddfellows Camp Fa-Ho-Cha, and joined the Student Senate.”

Throughout the weeklong July camp, business professionals and entrepreneurs led students in breakout sessions that included mock interviews and financial advice. Speakers were from 3M, Allstate, General Mills, Pearson’s Candy and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“They definitely drilled into us the importance of developing financial literacy, especially before we start making decisions about college,” Kleiman said. “The speakers were excellent, and it was fun collaborating with a really diverse group of students.”