Y.E.S. for Arkansas 5th-8th Grade Business Plan Competition

What innovations are lurking in the minds of
Arkansas’s 5th-8th graders? Plenty of them!

Arkansas Capital’s Youth Entrepreneurship Showcase (Y.E.S.) for Arkansas 5th-8th grade business plan competition is one of the state’s best ways to introduce young Arkansans to entrepreneurship!

Y.E.S. is free and open to any 5th-8th grade student enrolled in school (public, private, home, virtual). Students in non-classroom-based youth programs are eligible to compete. A teacher or other responsible adult must sign on as team sponsor – and can sponsor multiple teams.

The beginning of the school year is the time to start thinking of business ideas. What product or service in the marketplace is bugging these kids? What solutions do they have – and can they make money?

Business plans are due November 13. The top 25 teams who enter are automatically invited to compete in the 2019 Y.E.S. for Arkansas Expo Day January 25 in Little Rock. (Pictures above are from the 2018 Expo Day.)

Arkansas Capital created Y.E.S. for Arkansas in 2006 because of the success of its Arkansas Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition, established in 2001. Why not give younger students a chance to experience what entrepreneurs and small business owners go through to launch a business idea … and provide them and their teachers cash incentives to do so?

Since the first Y.E.S. competition, nearly 7,800 Arkansas 5th-8th graders have submitted 2,526 business ideas with $86,850 in cash prizes awarded. 

Read more below in “What You’ll Need to Know” – especially the Y.E.S. rules and what information is required for the business plan.

Download a brochure here.  Good luck!



Review the Y.E.S. rules, registration information, and more below. Please download and read the Guide for Y.E.S. Business Plan Content Requirements so you’ll be ready to answer student questions throughout the process. Also, be familiar with the required income statement form that will need to be inserted into the business plan before submission.

At the beginning of the school year, challenge your students to think about a product or service currently in the marketplace that bugs them. The product or service doesn’t work or deliver like it should. Could it be improved or delivered in a different way? Is there a need for a new product or service?

What can be done to solve these problems … and how can they make money?

Give this assignment a few weeks, monitoring what ideas are flowing. Begin assessing how teams will be formed to work on business plans for the ideas that are chosen. Y.E.S. encourages teams to have at least two members (the teamwork value). But if a student wants to pursue an idea on his/her own, that’s fine.

NO IDEA IS A BAD IDEA! If you think an idea is crazy, don’t discourage it! If they enter it into the Y.E.S. competition, they’ll find out soon enough. They’ll either figure it out or scrap the idea altogether. This discovery phase is a real-wold lesson in entrepreneurship. Let them own it!

As ideas are formalized and teams are decided, assign the students to start composing the business plan, ideally, no later than mid-October. Be sure they follow the required questions in the Business Plan Content Requirement guide.

Composing the business plan for Y.E.S. is a challenging process. Teams will need to work together and will need guidance to ensure they’re meeting the requirements. Teachers / sponsors may want to consider help from a community partner to mentor students through the process.

Veteran Y.E.S. teachers and sponsors say working on the business plan as a team is where the students’ creativity, critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, collaboration, and teamwork skills shine.

As noted on the website, Y.E.S. Intents to Compete are due October 26. See “Submitting Intents to Compete” below. Business plans are due November 16 and the Top 25 finalists will be announced December 19, with six weeks to plan for the exciting Y.E.S. Expo Day January 25 in Little Rock.

Good luck!


  1. The Y.E.S. for Arkansas competition is hosted by the Arkansas Capital’s 501(c)(3) affiliate, the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF).
  2. Not every circumstance can be anticipated. Arkansas Capital reserves the right to disqualify any team that violates the rules, regulations, or the spirit of the competition. All Y.E.S. for Arkansas competitors and teachers/sponsors are expected to conduct themselves in an ethical manner.
  3. Y.E.S. for Arkansas is open to any Arkansas student enrolled in grades 5-8 during the 2018-2019 school year. Students can be from public, private, home, or virtual schools.
  4. Team members can be from the same grade or from a combination of grades 5-8.
  5. Student teams should consist of at least 2 and no more than 6 members.
  6. Teams can be from classrooms, after-school clubs and organizations, churches, etc.
  7. All teams must be sponsored by a 5th-8th grade teacher or, in the case of teams from non-classroom-based groups, an adult affiliated with that group. Adults that want to sponsor non-classroom-based teams need to advise Arkansas Capital in advance by emailing or calling Marie Bruno at mbruno@arcapital.com, 501-374-9247.
  8. Teachers/sponsors cannot be a parent or other relative of any team member.
  9. Teachers/sponsors may have more than one team in the competition.
  10. Only one business plan per team can be entered into the competition.
  11. Students cannot be on more than one team.
  12. The business plans must show that the business idea is a for-profit product or service. Nonprofit concepts are not eligible.
  13. The product or service cannot be fictional in nature.
  14. Business plans must represent the original work of the team members.
  15. Submissions and judging for Y.E.S. are processed through Startup Compete. To enter, the teacher or sponsor of a team must create or reactivate a Startup Compete account. Click below for instructions on how to sign up with a new account or log in from an existing account.


To compete in Y.E.S. for Arkansas, sponsors must create or reactivate a Startup Compete account. If you plan to sponsor more than one team, you will be able to register all your teams through this account.

(Please watch this space for the 2018-2019 Startup Compete competition link.)

At the upper-left side of the page, you will see an orange button with “Log In / Register.” Click on this button. A box with a gold strip across the top will pop up on the screen.

For New Startup Compete Users:

Click the “Create User Account” blue button. A page, “Register for a new Startup Compete User Profile” will appear. Please fill out only the information marked with a red asterisk:

  • Email address
  • Password (and confirm password)
  • First and Last Names
  • Gender
  • Phone Number
  • Country, Address, City, State, Zip Code

Remember your email address and password. This will be the login information for your account from this point forward.

In the “Roles and Communications” box, the first statement is the only statement you need to answer for the purpose of the competition. It asks, “Select one or more role/s to describe your relationship with Startup Compete.” Check any box — the Y.E.S. competition has no preference as to which box should be checked.

At the bottom of the page, uncheck the box for “Notify me via email on … New Competitions,” unless you want to receive email from Startup Compete and the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Click “I agree” in the Terms and Conditions.

Type the letters shown in the image, and click “Save.”

For Returning Startup Compete Users:

Go to (the forthcoming Startup Compete link) and click the orange “Log In / Register” button on the left side of the page.

A box with an orange-gold strip across the top will appear. Under “Returning to Startup Compete,” enter your email address and your password.

If you need to use a new email address — or if you’ve forgotten the email address used previously, you will need to create a new account. See above, “New to Startup Compete.”

If you’ve forgotten your password, click on “Forgot Password?” and follow the prompts.

Next Step — Submitting Intents to Compete

The next step for the team is to submit an Intent to Compete by 11:59 p.m. Friday, October 26. Teams that are still undecided about competing by this deadline should still submit an intent to compete. If the team doesn’t submit a business plan in the competition, the intent is dropped from the Startup Compete account.


Submitting Intents to Compete greatly helps in preparations for the number of judges that need to be recruited for the competition. Submitting intents does not obligate sponsors or teams to the competition.

Below are instructions for submitting team intents. If all the information needed is not yet known, submit at least one team member’s name and class and the school’s information as a placeholder. All information does not need to be finalized until the business plan submission deadline.


  1. Go to (forthcoming Startup Compete link) and log in. (See “Startup Compete Registration Instructions” for guidance on setting up a Startup Compete account.)
  2. Click on the orange tab at the top left. If you had an existing Startup Compete account, it will say “Manage Ideas.” You will need to do step 3 for the 2018 competition.
  3. Click on the “Register New Business / Concept” button. You will be taken to a page with a box asking you to “Complete your Listing for Startup Compete’s Public Directory.”
  4. For the purposes of completing the Intent to Compete process, you only need to fill in the “Business / Concept” and “Business / Concept Summary” boxes.
  5. The “Business / Concept” is the name of the business plan you’ll be entering. If you do not have a business plan finalized yet, it’s OK to enter a generic name.
  6. The “Business / Concept Summary” is a summary of your business plan idea. If you do not have a business plan yet, enter a few brief words as a placeholder.
  7. After you fill out these two boxes, that’s it. You are not required to fill out any other information on the page, including the option at the bottom to “Display Your Business on the Startup Compete Public Directory,” unless you want to do so.
  8. Click “Save” at the bottom of the page. You will then be taken to the Startup Compete Competition Participant Agreement. Feel free to read the agreement if you like, but you can go ahead and click “I Agree.”
  9. You will be taken to the “Application Page.” Follow the prompts to complete sponsor, team member, and school information. If you do not yet know who your team members will be, that’s OK. You can update this information anytime until November 19, when business plans are due.
  10. Click “Save” when you’re finished.

You will then be taken back to your profile page. You should see the business name you just entered in the “Business Ideas” tab.

Teachers / sponsors must submit an intent to compete for each team. Repeat steps 3-9 above.

After submitting, you may get an email from Startup Compete with the subject line prompting you to register your team. You can ignore this – you’ve gotten this prompt because you’ve submitted the intent, but for the purposes of the Startup Compete database, you won’t be fully “registered” until the business plan is uploaded.


For more information, download a Guide for Y.E.S. Business Plan Content Requirements.

Business Plan Format, Cover Page, Table of Contents (10 points)


  • Business plans must be a minimum of 5 pages and no more than 10.
  • The Cover Page and Table of Contents are not included in the page number limits.
  • With the exception of the Cover Page and Table of Contents, all pages must be typed in 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font and pages must be numbered.
  • Spacing between lines in a paragraph and between paragraphs must be 1.5 or double-spaced.
  • Paragraphs must be indented.
  • Page numbers must be included on each page (except the Cover Page and Table of Contents).

Cover Page:

  • Name(s) of all team members
  • Teacher’s name, title, email address, and phone number
  • School name and full mailing address
  • A photo, drawing, or graphic of the product or service. Please ensure the image is saved as a smaller file before placing it on the cover page.

Table of Contents:

  • Please include this page after the Cover Page.


  1. Problem (10 Points)
    Describe the problem in the marketplace. How did the team identify the problem?
  2. Solution (10 Points)
    Give the name of the product or service here and how it will solve the problem. Be specific. How did the team arrive at this solution?
  3. Customers (10 Points)
    Describe who would buy the product or service? Why?
  4. Innovation (10 Points)
    What is innovative about your product or service? Is it new to the marketplace? Explain. If it is not new to the marketplace, explain how it is better than what exists.
  5. Product Details (10 Points)
    How will the product or service be produced or established? What supplies and/or equipment will be needed? Will workers need to be hired? Explain.
  6. Marketing (10 points)
    What is the cost to the customer of the product or service, and how did the team arrive at that decision? Where can they buy the product or service? How will the team promote the product or service?
  7. Statement of Funds Needed (10 Points)
    How much money is needed to start the business? What are the sources?
  8. Income Statement (10 Points)
    Project revenue and expenses for one month. Here are downloadable worksheets to help teams calculate their Income Statements:  PDF Version (Blank), PDF Fillable. If using the fillable form, please save it onto your computer first before you start working on it. If you enter data into the form straight off the link without saving it first to your computer, your data will be lost.

Please ensure plans are proofed for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and proper sentence construction.

Plans will need to be converted to PDF in order to be uploaded to Startup Compete. Please give this PDF document the same name as that of your business. When the conversion is complete, please ensure all pages were properly converted.


  1. Log in at (the forthcoming Startup Compete link). Click on your account name at the upper right hand corner of the page to access your profile. Click on the “Business Ideas” tab.
  2. Find the business name you entered in the Intent to Compete process. Click “Edit.”
  3. Update the name of the business if it changed since submitting the Intent to Compete.
  4. Update your content in the “Business / Concept Summary” box. This should be a short, two- to three-sentence paragraph stating your company’s purpose.
  5. No further information is required. You do not need to check the option at the bottom that asks, “Display Your Business on the Startup Compete Public Directory?” unless you choose to do so.
  6. When finished with this page, click “Save.” You will then be taken to the Startup Compete Competition Participant Agreement. Feel free to read the agreement if you like, but you can go ahead and click “I Agree.” You will then be taken to the Application page.
  7. Update the sponsor, school, and team member information. You will then see the prompt to upload your business plan.

Good luck!


The Top 25 scoring teams get their chance to show off and sell their products and services to both judges and the public alike at Park Plaza in Little Rock!


We have cash and other prizes for winners in the Best Business Plan, Most Innovative, Best Marketing Piece, and Best Retail Booth Display categories!


Y.E.S. has been around longer than some of today’s competitors! More than 7,400 students have competed since the first Y.E.S.competition in 2006. Who were the winners?