Young Americans Blog

Encouraging Entrepreneurs, Finding Founders, Browsing for Businesses

By: Ellory Eggermont Published: May 9th, 2013
The Sweet Bee Sisters show off their finalist check during the 2012 Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs.

The Sweet Bee Sisters show off their finalist check during the 2012 Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs.

Show me the money

Every year, Young Americans gives away more than $1,800. This year, we’ll be giving away more than $3,500!

That money is given as cash prizes to the winners and finalists of our youth business competition, the Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs. Each spring, we scour Colorado for young business owners, ages 6 to 21. Anyone in this age range who has had a business for at least six months can enter to win the cash prize. On top of that, these business owners are matched with local business leaders from around Colorado, who provide guidance and mentoring for a year.

In past years we have had a wide variety of applicants from all over the state. Some of the recognizable names include Alkaline Clothing in the oldest age category (ages 16-21), Flour Gal in the mid age category (ages 12-15), and Sushimee in the youngest age category (ages 6-11).

Changes this year

This year we are adding an additional category for businesses run by youth who are affiliated with an educational program. Entrants into this category hail from school-based DECA business, FBLA services, and non-profit groups, like Girl Scouts or YouthBiz.

All our entrants work hard on their businesses all year long by creating their products and selling them at markets like the Young Americans Marketplace or through internet sales.  Other businesses include services such as lawn care or app development.  Then in the spring they thoughtfully put together their CYE application.  This year’s deadline is June 8.

All entrants are judged in a closed-room session by business and education representatives.

All entrants are judged in a closed-room session by business and education representatives.

How does this all work?

For the first time this year, our application to the business competition is entirely online. Not only will this make it easier on our judges and staff to process and read, but it will also be a boon for the applicants. The application can be started, edited, and saved as many times as needed. I would suggest planning for two to five hours of work to ensure that it’s a thorough application.

The application can be found at www.yacenter.org/CYE. The Young Entrepreneurs staff members at Young Americans are always willing to help, so any applicants are encouraged to call and make an appointment for support.

Again, the application deadline is Saturday, June 8.  After that, we send the applications off to the judges. Young Americans selects judges from the business and educational realms to read dozens of great applications. Each age category of the independent track and the affiliated track will have a mix of judges to ensure balanced critiquing.  The judges select one winner and two finalists per category.

Miles Louison of Sushimee poses before his big win at CYE.

Miles Louison of Sushimee poses before his big win at CYE.

Announcing the winners

Then it’s time for the party! All applicants are invited to attend the culminating event on September 10, 2013. Winners and finalist are the guests of honor and receive the chance to exhibit their businesses to the entire audience.  During the formal dinner event, the winners and finalists are presented with their checks and get the opportunity to give a speech – just like the Oscars!  Finally, the winners and finalists are paired with a business leader for a six- month mentorship.

Help us find young business owners who are looking for cash and mentoring support. Send anyone you know to www.yacenter.org/CYE to start an application today!

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