Students from nine Charleston County high schools competed in a series of business plan competitions organized by Youth Entrepreneurship South Carolina (YEScarolina), sponsored by local plaintiffs’ law firm Motley Rice LLC.
In April, students presented their full business plan to peers, teachers and a panel of judges from throughout the business community for a chance to win capital to support their business ideas. The first round of competitions took place in the classroom and the top three students from the Motley Rice Class Competition won seed money in the amounts of $250, $150 & $100, respectively. In the class competitions alone, the total money that Motley Rice and YEScarolina gave away was $5,000.
Top students then advanced to the county-wide competition on May 6th held at the College of Charleston School of Business. This was the largest business plan competition to date that YEScarolina has hosted. Twenty students went head to head in the competition and first place went to the very polished presenter Evan Knox of Charleston Collegiate with the prize of $1,000. Evan’s business was Bullseye Web Designs and focused on creating websites for small businesses in the Charleston area that do not currently have one. Second place went to Aquila Brown of Charleston Math & Science and won $500 & third place was awarded to Kristen Linscott of Wando High School winning $250. The two runners up were Drew Aikman and Luke Varadi both of Wando High School winning $200 each. These five finalists will advance to the State competition June 19th with the opportunity to win the top prize of $3,000 and advance to the national NFTE competition in NYC.
Fort Dorchester entrepreneurship teacher Maria Williams said, “The Motley Rice County Business Plan Competition was such an interactive learning experience for my students. They were given immediate feedback after presenting for real-world professionals.”
This is the first year students from District 2 participated. Participating schools included James Island Charter High School, St. John’s High School, Wando High School, West Ashley High School, Summerville High School, Military Magnet, Charleston Collegiate, Charleston Math & Science, & Fort Dorchester High School.
Students presented original business plans developed as a part of their entrepreneurial studies, which are based on a curriculum created by YEScarolina program partner The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Their complete business plans must include organizational structure, a target market, competitive analysis, a marketing plan, economics of one unit, ROI, financial strategy and a projected income statement.
“The business plan competition was one of those moments when you see education in action. The students were all so impressive on their feet, and the panel of judges did an excellent job of ensuring that the learning was not complete, even though the students thought they were at the finish line. That is the best part of Entrepreneurship…the education never ends, and it certainly never gets boring.” said Hacker Burr head master & entrepreneurship teacher at Charleston Collegiate School.
“We are thrilled with the drive and creativity these young entrepreneurs demonstrate. For some, entrepreneurship could be the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Entrepreneurship provides an avenue for financial independence, a benefit to all. These young entrepreneurs are certainly shaping up to be the dynamic business leaders of the future,” said YEScarolina Founder and Executive Director Jimmy Bailey.