All 9th – 12th grade students enrolled in the 2015-2016 school year are eligible, and can compete individually or in teams.
New to Y.E.S. 2.0 this year are two contest divisions: one each for 9th- and 10th-grade students and for 11th- and 12th-grade students. Teams from across the state will compete for a chance to win cash prizes and awards for Best Business Plan.
There is no cost to compete, and Y.E.S. 2.0 is completely online. Competitors can be based from the classroom, clubs, or organizations (DECA, 4-H, FCCLA, FBLA, Skills USA, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc.). All teams are required to have a sponsor – either a teacher or AEAF-approved mentor from their area.
Students are not required to have actual businesses to compete. The challenge is for them to come up with a business idea that identifies a customer “pain” in the marketplace, and a new or better product or service that they believe would solve the problem and make money. They then put that idea to test as they tackle real-world research and validation needed to answer questions in the business plan.
Win or lose, all competitors discover new perspectives on entrepreneurship that will serve them well into the future – whether they go to college, go to work for someone else, or start their own businesses and create jobs for others.
The founding sponsor of Y.E.S. 2.0 is the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF), created in 1999 by the Arkansas Capital Corporation. The mission of AEAF is to generate future Arkansas entrepreneurs by being a catalyst in an environment that attracts, develops, and retains entrepreneurial opportunities within Arkansas.
Today, the opportunities to become an entrepreneur and launch a startup or a new business in Arkansas or elsewhere are greater than ever. Students who compete in Y.E.S. 2.0 are more aware and better prepared than others to seize these opportunities when they come along. They learn that starting a new business is possible.
Teams can begin submitting their Intents to Compete at iStart.org now. Business plans are due by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Good luck!