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Business Plan Competitions: What Do High School Students Think?
entrepreneurship, youth entrepreneurship, Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum, high school, Cleveland, Northeast Ohio, entrepreneur, startup

Business Plan Competitions: What Do High School Students Think?

“This experience taught me what I am good at, what challenges me, and how to overcome those challenges.”

One of the highlights of Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum is the annual business plan competition, which has been offered since the Forum started in 2012. Hearing student ideas and pitches and watching them progress to the finals is truly exciting. But, in a world of lean startups and business model canvases, does a competition that includes something as traditional as the creation of a basic business plan have the sizzle students expect?

To find out, we surveyed students who were part of the competition during the 2015-16 school year when nearly 600 students entered the competition. For the first time, we have compiled data from students about their experience. Here’s what we know.

Among those providing feedback:

94 percent would recommend the competition to friends

– 94 percent would recommend the competition to friends.

74 percent were influenced to think differently about college and other life plans

– 74 percent were influenced to think differently about going to college, choosing a college major, and making other life plans.

55 percent have a more positive opinion about Cleveland and Northeast Ohio

– 55 percent have a higher opinion of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio than they had before the competition.

What else did they tell us?

“I know more that I did before about writing a business plan, recognizing business opportunities, developing business ideas, delivering a good pitch, and starting a business.”

“The best thing about this experience is now having a plan to start and run my business.”

“The best part of this program for me was being allowed to think creatively and literally build my own dream business.”

“The business plan competition has made me want to pursue a career as an entrepreneur and attend business school.”

“I learned more about the business community in Northeast Ohio and made more contacts than I could have ever imagined.”

“The work with mentors, coaches, and judges developed my ideas and several are interested in helping me start my company.”

“The competition really exposed the dedication and hard work that people in Northeast Ohio put into running their businesses.”

We love hearing this feedback, not only because it tells us about the difference we are making for high school students in Northeast Ohio, but also because we want to continue to improve the competition and make it the best it can be. We are looking forward to our next competition that kicks off this fall.

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