Young Entrepreneur Tournament

February 19, 2014

Teenagers are recognized for their texting and tech abilities….but what may be lesser YET Logoknown is that they have some pretty clever business ideas, too.

In northern Colorado, there is a program available to capture this creativity and enterprising drive of young people while helping to discover their entrepreneurial skills. Through the Larimer County Workforce Center’s Young Entrepreneur Tournament, youth between the ages of 12-18 participate in a series of five weekend workshops to advance their small business plans and compete for startup prize money.

Through these trainings and accompanying one-on-one consultations from local business leaders, the participating students have an opportunity to move their ideas from concept to business plan to successful implementation.

YET Group Image 2013 v2Modeled after the ‘Shark Tank’ experience popularized by the television show with the same name, the program’s culmination features each student giving their business pitch to a panel of judges. Cash prizes are then awarded and the top three students are later matched with prominent business people who provide ongoing mentorship for the young entrepreneurs.

The results from the Tournament’s first seven years are impressive. Many of the program’s graduates have used their business plans and seed funding to launch their startups. Others have pursued additional business classes in high school or college. And others have tucked away the nuggets of knowledge and business insights they gained from the program, which will assist them with future entrepreneurial ventures.

Kenna Christian was a top finalist in the 2012 Tournament, where her custom greeting card business concept was introduced. After completing the program, Kenna was able to formalize her business’s legal status, secure an in-kind technology investment, and execute a variety of marketing strategies to increase sales.

When asked how her participation in the program impacted her desire to be an entrepreneur, Kenna shared:
“When I first began my participation in the Youth Entrepreneur Tournament, I learned about all of the advantages that being an entrepreneur presents to you. The Tournament taught me that you can take your dream business and make it a reality. That made me want to be an entrepreneur even more because I can take my dreams and fate into my own hands! Now I see many possibilities in the world and the YET has given me the foundation to act on those possibilities.”

If Kenna represents the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders, the future looks bright…and the Youth Entrepreneur Tournament can be thanked for its influence on these young people in our community.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 program, which begins in mid-April. Complete details and information on how to apply can be viewed at

The Workforce Center believes success has no age limits. Youth have the vision, creative power, and drive to accomplish their goals. The Larimer County Workforce Center is committed to giving our youth access to the best activities to support a bright future.

The OtterCares Foundation is a proud supporter of this innovative program that is working to mobilize a movement of young entrepreneurs. At OtterCares, we believe that one idea, one crazy thought, one caring heart, one young and inspired mind CAN change the world.