YE students showcase their winning business plans at the annual Dreams to
Dividends event, when more than $100,000 in scholarships and grants are awarded.
Mixing fun with competition, students get to put their entrepreneurial skills to the
test during Market Days. Students develop business plans, use venture capital
funds to purchase wholesale goods, create products and sell them to their
Youth Entrepreneurs (formerly Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas) was founded in 1991 in Wichita, Kan., by the Charles Koch Foundation. What started as an eight-week program for at-risk students in one Wichita high school has expanded to an entire school-year course in 30 schools across Kansas and Missouri, serving more than 1,000 students each year.
YE teaches students business and entrepreneurial skills that will help them achieve success, not only in business but in life. Students gain self-confidence and learn to apply skills such as goal setting, discipline, accountability, self-reliance, judgment, and economic and critical thinking.
Learning about business is never dull at YE, which provides experiential, hands-on simulations and projects such as invention contests, The Trading Game, Reality Fair and Market Day. Opportunities exist to learn directly from local business owners who speak at Business for Breakfast and Biz Connect events or volunteer as mentors. YE also offers Summer Partnerships where students work in a business during the summer.
The capstone of the YE program is the Business Plan Competition. Students submit business plans in a wide variety of categories including technology, art, agriculture, services, and manufacturing. The competition teaches them how to sell their business ideas and provides an opportunity to win scholarships and venture capital grants.
Since inception, more than 12,000 students have graduated from Youth Entrepreneurs. Many have gone on to fulfill dreams of higher education and business ownership. All have come away with a keen insight about what it takes to succeed as a business owner or employee.
A licensed program of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Youth Entrepreneurs is open to all high school students, but is targeted toward at-risk youth.
Youth Entrepreneurs has received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation.