On October 3, 2013, local students Aquila Brown of Charleston Charter School for Math & Science and Evan Knox of Charleston Collegiate will compete in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. The students will travel this week to New York City for the challenge which is set for Thursday at The Times Center. The competition is organized by YEScarolina’s global program partner NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship). Presented by MasterCard, the nationwide business plan contest, draws regional competition winners and pits them against each other.
Brown and Knox are two of 39 students who will be competing against the brightest young business people from across the country for a chance to win $25,000 in cash and prizes to help advance their business and education. The evening will also feature an appearance by all-star entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Both students were required to develop and present original business plans as part of their entrepreneurship class in high school. As part of their coursework, these students receive hands-on training in launching a business and learn the real-world relevance of math, reading and writing. The curriculum reinforces students’ critical thinking skills and provides them with tools to help them take control of their futures and think entrepreneurially.
This past summer, Aquila and Evan competed and placed in the Mark Motley Statewide Business Plan Competition organized by YEScarolina. Since then, these teens have spent the majority of their free time working on their businesses and perfecting their presentations with their mentors and YEScarolina coaching staff.
Aquila, who finished third in the 2013 YEScarolina State Business Plan Competition, will present a business plan for her company, TruSol Art. Her business is an expedient, hand-drawn portrait service that is tailored to the customer’s preferences. Her target market is Charleston tourists and when she is not in school spends her time at destinations such as The Market, Battery, and Waterfront Park marketing her services to potential customers. Aquila prides herself on customer service and providing a service that tells a story and is more than a trinket souvenir. If you ask her what she would tell somebody else interested in starting a business, “Set your goals high, and do not let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do.”
After taking first place in the 2013 YEScarolina State Business Plan Competition, Evan has been fine-tuning his business plan for Bullseye Web Designs. His goal is to provide a quick, easy, and affordable websites design solution for companies and individuals. Evan does things differently at Bullseye Web Designs by approaching prospects with a fully-functional demo website. Work days can be busy but Evan enjoys the pace and intensity of his work. His advice to future entrepreneurs, “The sooner that you get out there, start your business, and build connections, the better.”
Brown and Knox presented their business plans one last time before leaving for New York at a farewell gathering at Upstairs at Midtown last week to a audience that provided helpful feedback. They will also be honored, along with 9 other top students from across the state, at YEScarolina’s sold out Gala and Fundraiser on October 17th.
We wish both Evan and Aquila the best of luck! The state of South Carolina is very proud to have you represent us.