Business Plan Competitions

Through a partnership with community sponsors such as Mark Motley, Motley Rice LLC, and Bank of America, YEScarolina hosts in-school competitions and a state business plan competitions. Students have the opportunity to participate in a series of business plan competitions as a part of their entrepreneurship class curriculum. Students will build their business plan over the course of their class. Once completed, they will present their ideas to local businessmen and women serving as judges. The top students are eligible to win seed money ranging from $100 to $3,000 throughout the course of the competitions to help fund the creation of their businesses.

2019 Dates and Information


First Place Winner – $3,000: Samantha Kutcher of Wando High School

  • Prepare4Work – Prepare4Work helps special needs adults in Charleston, South Carolina acquire skills to become competitive in the workforce.

Second Place Winner – $2,000: Bria Maiden of Wando High School

  • Bria 3214 –  Bria 3214 Clothing is a clothing brand with an inspirational social message to embrace positivity and your authentic self. 

Third Place Winner – $1,000: Quinn Nisbet of Wando High School

  • Electron PC – Electron PC helps customers to custom build computers by focusing on customer experience.


2018 State Business Plan Competition Recap

Thirty-six South Carolina high school students stepped into the shoes of entrepreneurs on ABC’s Shark Tank this past Friday, during YEScarolina’s 7th Annual State Business Plan Competition, presented by the Mark E. Motley Foundation. Through three rounds of competition held at the College of Charleston’s School of Business, each student had an opportunity to present their business plan for a chance to win seed money to launch their venture, as well as an all-expense paid trip to New York City.

The morning began with a welcome speech as students prepared for their first round of presentations. In between rounds of competition, presenters had an opportunity to speak to attendees and fellow entrepreneurs about their businesses at the Student Expo in the Atrium. Teachers were also recognized individually after the first round and given a Starbucks gift card for a much-needed coffee break! While judges deliberated on the six finalists, YEScarolina Executive Director Austin Stone and President of Programs Eva Rutiri invited Founder Jimmy Bailey to speak about what motivated him to give students from all socioeconomic backgrounds an opportunity to start businesses through teaching entrepreneurship. Bailey shared the story of an early YEScarolina alumni, Jerome Smalls, who used what he learned in his middle school entrepreneurship class to start his own organizations. Smalls eventually earned the title of South Carolina Entrepreneur of the Year. He is currently a student at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and will return to Charleston for a signing of his new book, Small Talk: One Youth. Seven Stories, at West Ashley High School on Monday, May 21st.

At 3:30 pm, six finalists were announced: Zach Ahearn, Samantha Kutcher, Bria Maiden, Quinn Nisbet, Luke Panzarella, all Wando High School Students, as well as Siada Tisdale, a student at Kingstree Senior High School in Kingstree, South Carolina. They presented on stage in the Wells Fargo Auditorium, in front of an esteemed panel of judges made up of Charleston business leaders that included owner of Butcher & Bee and The Daily and YEScarolina board member Melody Shemtov, Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union Employer & Public Relations Director and YEScarolina board member Nise Lowell, Executive Vice President, Human Resources at Blackbaud and YEScarolina board member John Mistretta.