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

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 in Arkansas 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 Tuesday, November 19. Twenty-five finalists will be announced December 16 on this page. These 25 teams will compete in the 2020 Y.E.S. for Arkansas Expo Day, tentatively scheduled for February 14 at the Hot Springs Convention Center. (Please be watching this space for updates.)

At Expo Day, finalists will have two hours to sell their products and services, not only to the public, but also to a group of judges who will be decide the 1st – 4th place winners in each of the following categories: Best Retail Booth, Best Marketing Piece, and Most Innovative!

The awards for these categories and for Best Business Plan (also 1st – 4 place) will be presented an hour after the expo concludes. (The pictures above are from the 2019 Expo Day event.)

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, 8,133 Arkansas 5th-8th graders have submitted 2,654 business ideas with more than $91,000 in cash prizes awarded.

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 more. Teamwork skills shine. Because Y.E.S. is student-driven and hands-on, competitors learn with and from others and understand the dynamics of working as part of at team. They also experience the consequences of their decisions and likely will apply this learning to future challenges.

Y.E.S. is a fantastic way to invest in Arkansas’s future innovators and entrepreneurs!  Read more below in “What You’ll Need to Know” to get started.

Good luck!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO KNOW

GETTING STARTED

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 to familiarize yourself with the process.

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 from your students. 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 this out soon enough. An important piece of developing a product or service is to find out if customers will buy/use it. If the idea doesn’t work, they’ll either refine it (based on their customer research) or scrap it and start over. This discovery phase is a real-world 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 more come into play.

Teamwork skills shine during the Y.E.S. process. Because the competition is hands-on and student-driven, competitors learn with and from others, experiencing the dynamics of working as part of a team. They will also learn the consequences of their decisions, hopefully applying that learning to future challenges.

All teams must be registered in YouNoodle accounts created by their teachers or other sponsors. See “Team Registration” below. Business plans are due November 19 and the Top 25 finalists will be announced December 16. The finalists can then begin making plans for Expo Day 2020.

Good luck!

COMPETITION RULES

  1. Not every circumstance can be anticipated. Arkansas Capital Corporation 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.
  2. Y.E.S. for Arkansas is open to any Arkansas student enrolled in grades 5-8 during the 2019-2020 school year. Students can be from public, private, home, or virtual schools.
  3. Team members can be from the same grade or from a combination of grades 5-8.
  4. Student teams should consist of at least 2 and no more than 6 members.
  5. Teams can be from classrooms, after-school clubs and organizations, churches, etc.
  6. 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.
  7. Teachers/sponsors cannot be a parent or other relative of any team member.
  8. Teachers/sponsors may have more than one team in the competition.
  9. Only one business plan per team can be entered into the competition.
  10. Students cannot be on more than one team.
  11. The business plans must show that the business idea is a for-profit product or service. Nonprofit concepts are not eligible.
  12. Ideas submitted in previous Y.E.S. competitions cannot be entered again in 2020.
  13. The product or service cannot be fictional in nature.
  14. Business plans must represent the original work of the team members.
  15. Team registrations, business plan uploads, judging, and scoring for Y.E.S. are processed online via the YouNoodle competition platform.

TEAM REGISTRATION VIA YOU-NOODLE

To compete in Y.E.S., teachers/sponsors must create an account in the YouNoodle online competition database.

If you plan to sponsor more than one team, you can register all your teams through this account.

Please go to this specific web address: (LINK TO BE PROVIDED SOON) This is the web address you will use throughout the competition. We suggest you bookmark it. Any other variations used, such as just typing “YouNoodle” into your browser, will not get you to your account.

  1. Go to the website. You’ll see a button, “Create An Account”. Click on it and complete the information.
  2. You’ll be taken to a new window with a box, “Create A New Application”. Click on it and complete the information. See under “Team Intent to Compete” that – for the Intents to Compete round – you’re OK if you don’t have complete information for your teams. Please enter something generic in the boxes marked with a * (required answers). This will give us a count as to how many teams to expect as we recruit judges.
  3. Once completed, click “Save”, then click “Next”.
  4. In this window, you have the chance to check your team’s application. Click the “Edit” button to the right if you need to edit, otherwise, click “Submit Application” at the bottom of the page.
  5. The next window is your application confirmation (you’ll also receive an email acknowledging this). You’ll also see a box asking if you would like to participate in a YouNoodle project. This is optional – it is not a requirement of the Y.E.S. competition.
  6. To register more teams, click “Start” in the panel on the left hand side of the screen. You’ll see the application you just submitted and a new box, “Create A New Application”. Repeat from Step 2.

To update team applications after submitting:

  1. Log in to your account. You’ll be taken to your Dashboard window – and you will a box for each of your team’s applications.
  2. Click on the one you need to update.
  3. Scroll down the page until you see a red button, “Unsubmit Application.” Don’t worry, this just unlocks your intent so you can update it – it doesn’t take it out of the database.
  4. You’ll be taken to the team’s application window. Click the “Edit” button at the top right and make your updates.
  5. Once done, click save, then “Submit Application” – you’ll get an “Application Submitted” confirmation page.

All teacher accounts must be set up with applications for each team completed by November 19. If you are unsure that some teams will have a business plan ready by the December 16 upload deadline, please go ahead and created an application for them.

Should there still be some incomplete team information by the November 19 registration deadline, you’ll have a chance to update the team’s application anytime until the December 16 business plan upload deadline.

BUSINESS PLAN CONTENT REQUIREMENTS

Please

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

Format:

  • 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:

  • The name of the product or service
  • 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.

Contents:

  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 YouNoodle. 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.

Teams will lose points in judging if these requirements are not followed as they are stated above.

SUBMITTING BUSINESS PLANS

  1. Go back to the Y.E.S./YouNoodle web page: (LINK COMING SOON) and log in.
  2. You’ll be taken to your Dashboard page. There, you should a box for your team/s intent/s to compete. Click on the team application that you want to upload a plan for.
  3. On the team’s page, make sure all the information is correct. If you need to make updates, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Unsubmit Application” button. Don’t worry! This just unlocks the information so you can update it – it doesn’t delete the team out of the database. Be sure to click “Submit Application” after making updates.
  4. You’ll be back into the team’s application. Make the changes you need, then, at the bottom, you’ll see a header, “Business Plan Upload” and follow the prompts.
  5. Click the “Browse” button to go to where the plan is located in your computer. Once you’ve uploaded it, you’ll see the plan name next to the red browse button. Click “Save”, then “Next”.
  6. You will be taken to the team’s application page to ensure all the information is correct and the correct plan is uploaded for the team. If everything is ready to go, click on “Submit Application.”
  7. The next window will be your confirmation page.
  8. The deadline to update team information and submit business plans is 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, November 19.

GOOD LUCK!

EXPO DAY

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!
LEARN MORE

COMPETITION AWARDS

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

PREVIOUS WINNERS

Y.E.S. has been around longer than some of today’s competitors! More than 8,100 students have competed since the first Y.E.S.competition in 2006. Who were the winners?
LEARN MORE