Top 26 to compete and sell their products January 17, 2014 at Park Plaza Mall
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The teams will now compete in the 2014 Y.E.S. for Arkansas Business Expo, which will begin at 10:00 a.m. Friday, January 17, at Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock. Each team and its teacher advisor will have a booth to showcase their business ideas and sell products to Park Plaza patrons. Judges will be on hand during the expo to select 1st-4th place winners in the following categories: Best Business Plan, Most Innovative Product, Best Marketing Piece, and Best Retail Booth Display. The winners will be announced by representatives of the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation at Park Plaza at approximately 1:00 p.m. The foundation awards cash prizes of $1,100 to the advisors of the four top teams; and cash prizes of up to $1,000 for all students who are members of the top three teams and a trophy for each of the top three teams. All students are recognized with a medal. By the end of September, the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation received 258 Intents to Compete in Y.E.S. 2014 from 29 schools in 15 counties throughout Arkansas. Of that number, 220 business plans were submitted by the November 1 deadline. Nearly 40 Arkansans volunteered to judge the plans. Typically, only 25 finalists are selected to compete in the Y.E.S. for Arkansas Business Expo. For 2014, there are 26 due to a tie in the scoring. Since the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation created the Y.E.S. for Arkansas in 2005, more than 1,700 5th-8th grade students, plus their teacher advisors, have participated in the business plan competition. The Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation has awarded more than $21,000 in cash prizes. The Arkansas Capital Corporation established the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation in 1999 as a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to education-based initiatives that promote and foster the development of innovation and entrepreneurship within Arkansas. With broad support from the state’s business community, the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation’s purpose is to nurture people and ideas to generate future Arkansas entrepreneurs. In 2001, the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation established the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup, a collegiate business plan competition which continues in 2014 with colleges and university teams submitting their Intents to Compete January 31. As education and business leaders throughout the state enthusiastically embraced the Governor’s Cup, the Arkansas Capital Corporation and the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation created Y.E.S. for Arkansas to promote entrepreneurship education for 5th-8th grade students, giving them an opportunity to showcase their creativity, intuition, and innovation. The Y.E.S. competition expanded further in 2011, when Y.E.S. 2.0 was launched for 9th-through 12th– grade students. The Y.E.S. 2.0 competition is online only. Intents to Compete for Y.E.S. 2.0 are also due January 31. The Arkansas Capital Corporation Group (ACCG) is a privately held group of for-profit and non-profit corporations dedicated to improving the lives of Arkansans. The ACCG and its affiliate companies empower entrepreneurs by providing capital to businesses through its capital availability programs and advocating for entrepreneurs through capital, educational and technological improvements. In addition to the AEAF, the ACCG also includes seven other affiliates: the Arkansas Capital Corporation, Six Bridges Capital Corporation, Arkansas Capital Relending Corporation, Diamond State Ventures, Heartland Renaissance Fund, Connect Arkansas, and Pine State Capital (PSC).