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 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 Friday, November 16. 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!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO KNOW

SUGGESTIONS FOR 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 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.

Intents to Compete are due November 9. 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!

COMPETITION RULES

  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. Team applications, intents to compete, business plan uploads, and judging for Y.E.S. are processed online. The competition database for 2019 will be the YouNoodle platform. See “Y.E.S. Registration Instructions” to get started.

Y.E.S. REGISTRATION INSTRUCTIONS

To compete in Y.E.S. for Arkansas, teachers/sponsors must register teams online through a new platform this year, YouNoodle.

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

Go here to get started: https://platform.younoodle.com/client/entry-rounds/yes_2019/apply. 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 where you need to be.

  1. Go to the website. You’ll see a gray 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 3.

To update team applications after submitting:

  1. Log in to your account. You’ll be taken to your Dashboard window – and you will see all your applications.
  2. Click on the one you need to update.
  3. Scroll down the page until you see a red button, “Un-Submit Application.” Click on it (it’s ok!).
  4. You’ll be taken to the Application window. Click the “Edit” button and make your updates.
  5. Once done, click on “Submit Application” – and you’ll see what’s noted in #6 above.

Intents are due by the end of the day November 9. Please have all your applications completed as best you can by this deadline. If you still have some incomplete team information, you’ll have a chance to  update it at any time – but it must be completed by the business plan submission deadline.

Please see the “Submitting Business Plans” section for instructions on uploading your team/s plans.

BUSINESS PLAN REQUIREMENTS

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

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:

  • 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

The prompt to upload business plans will be activated by noon Monday, November 12. 

To upload:

  1. Log back into your YouNoodle account: https://platform.younoodle.com/client/entry-rounds/yes_2019/apply
  2. You will be in your dashboard and will see your applications.
  3. Click on the appropriate application. In the next window, you will need to scroll down to the “Un-Submit Application” button. Click on it (again, it’s ok!).
  4. You’ll be back into the application – at the bottom, you’ll see the prompt to upload the team’s business plan. Please ensure the plan is in PDF and that the PDF is titled EXACTLY the same as the Business Name in the application before you upload, as noted in the business plan requirements above.

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!
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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 7,400 students have competed since the first Y.E.S.competition in 2006. Who were the winners?
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