The Youth Entrepreneurship Conference

What an event – The Youth Entrepreneurship Conference hosted by the IL Institute for Entrepreneurship Education, May 3 through 5 in Lincolnshire IL. More than 400 high school students participated in biz plan competitions, market place expo, breakout sessions and networking. From a quick look at their evaluations Saturday afternoon, the young entrepreneurs rated the conference “high five.”

The conference showcased youth entrepreneurship education as applied classroom practice with a real world focus. I was encouraged by the number of teachers who came to learn more about entrepreneurship education. Conversations were engaging, connections were made giving schools and programs the opportunity to take entrepreneurship education to the next level. YEE, an emerging field wrought by exploration, reflection, discovery, risk, successes and failures.

Some of the highlights from the conference – the more than 40 young entrepreneurs participating in the business plan and jump-start competitions. They looked very professional dressed in their business attire, their handshake firm, spoke clearly and maintained good eye contact. They pitched their business plan with confidence within a time frame of five minutes followed with questions from the judges. They responded with enthusiasm and confidence. Those who place received cash prizes.

Another highlight … the Market Place EXPO featuring 35 youth businesses representing retail, service, manufacturing, technology, publishing, music and entertainment. This event drew the crowds, all conference goers attended the EXPO. Ample time to meet the young entrepreneurs and to hear their stories.  To browse, network, sample products and purchase goods.  The expo room was filled with good energy.

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