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.
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.
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.
To update team applications after submitting:
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 Format, Cover Page, Table of Contents (10 points)
Table of Contents:
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.
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 8,100 students have competed since the first Y.E.S.competition in 2006. Who were the winners?