High School Entrepreneurs Compete for College Scholarship

Published 11/13 2012 01:33PM

Updated 11/13 2012 08:01PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Teenage entrepreneurs convene for a little friendly competition at Missouri Western.

Students from schools all around the state are grouped randomly with a pretty tough task: create a feasible business plan in less than tour hours.

"It's a great way to get high school kids to expand their minds, think outside the box, and think about how I can be an entrepreneur in the future compared to how to get a job working for someone else," said Isaac Collins, owner of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store in Williamsburg, Iowa.

Collins is a graduate of Missouri Western and is facilitating one of the groups for the Entrepreneur Challenge.

He is helping his group come up with a business idea that a high school student could create to help pay for school upon enrolling in college.

"They're coming up with all the ideas, I'm just facilitating and answering questions," Collins said.  "When they're on an idea I'm expanding their thinking with suggestions like 'What can we do this way?' or 'How is this going to work in this scenario?'"

His group, led by students from St. Joseph and Salisbury, Missouri, has decided they'll design a dorm cleaning service.

"People do want to be clean, but they also want to focus on their studies," explains Salisbury senior Katy Harlan.  "It would also help the student who's beginning the business to pay off their college and focus on their studies as well."

In less than 120 minutes, Harlan and her group have to design every aspect of their business from the ground up: marketing plan, market analysis, budget, and everything else in between.

"It's very stressful, you have to work very hard and you have to be very efficient," she said.  "And also working with new people you have to get used to their personalities and get used to how they think.  Then you have to incorporate your ideas with theirs."

Every group will present their business model to a panel of business owners and faculty members.

The prize: a yearly $500 scholarship to Missouri Western's Craig School of Business.

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