Photo: Contestant answers a question from a competition judge. See more images below with interactive slide show...
NFTE Greater Dallas began its annual business plan competitions on Thursday and Friday May 5 and 6 at The Universities Center at Dallas in the UNT System Building. A total of 56 middle and high school students presented 49 businesses over the two days representing 15 schools throughout Dallas ISD and from Irving MacArthur High School.
This first round of competition marks the culmination of NFTE’s 80-hour “mini MBA” program to teach students in low-income areas of Dallas and Irving the basics of entrepreneurship. NFTE Greater Dallas will hold a second round of competitions on May 19th at the Law Offices of Winstead PC, with a final round being held on June 4th at UT Dallas. During this final round of competition 6 students will compete for a grand-prize of $1,000 and the chance to compete for $10,000 at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York City on October 6, 2011. All of the winning students can use the financial awards to launch or expand their businesses or to further their educations.
Student businesses during this first round included entrepreneurial endeavors from hand-made bows and hats to service businesses such as interior design and hair businesses, as well as the development and pending patent of a business that launches cheer gear during football and basketball games. It was exciting to see so many well thought out plans during the two days.
Fifty-six Local entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout Dallas volunteered their time and talents during 4-sessions — one morning and one afternoon session each day. The panel of judges reviewed and evaluated the student’s businesses on the viability of the business, the likelihood of success, and the scalability of the business over time. Students were also judged on presentation skills, ability to answer questions and defend their business plans. Judges were impressed by the ability of students as young as 14 to deliver a well-thought-out plan in front of a group of adults. Several judges commented “I never would have been able to do what these young people are doing at that age.”
“Here in the Greater Dallas area, NFTE is now supporting 34 teachers at 24 different schools and 72 classrooms in Dallas and Irving, reaching close to 1,900 students annually,” explains Laura Maczka, Executive Director of NFTE Greater Dallas. “NFTE continues to receive high marks and gain momentum. Students in our middle schools receive high school credit and our entrepreneurship curriculum was named the winning math curriculum by the Association for Educational Publishers’ Distinguished Achievement Award, and research conducted by Harvard and Brandeis Universities have shown significant impact in engaging youth more in school and increasing their desire to go to college."
In addition, NFTE is receiving high praise for its novel approach to entrepreneurial education. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan remarked: “Not everyone is going to want to work for big business, we need to have a systemic approach for teaching youth small business and entrepreneurship and NFTE has the best program in the country." Also respected New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas L. Friedman singled out NFTE for its good work and encouraged President Obama to use the NFTE program in high schools to inspire America’s youth, in his Op-Ed, “More (Steve) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.”
Capital One Bank is sponsoring the 2011 business plan competitions graciously hosted by The Universities Center at Dallas and the UNT System, The Law Offices of Winstead PC, and The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas. Joyce Campbell of Capital One Bank stated: “The business competition ignites the entrepreneurial spirit in everyone —the students, the teachers and the supporters. Students are learning they don’t need to just take a job, they can make a job. We are excited to be a part of spreading that spirit and seeing the American dream come alive in these students.”
Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) staff, students and judges take advantage of the UNT System Building’s and UCD’s great facilities and amenities during their two day annual business plan competition. This is the fifth year that UNT System and the UCD have had the pleasure of providing the space and support for NFTE and the student activities.
(To view these images — with captions — simply click on any one and a blow-up will appear. To go forward or backward through the images, just use the arrow keys; type "X" — or hit the "esc" key — to close the show.)
Also available as a slide show on the UNT System flickr page. You can easily share it with friends & family from there...