Winners of the 2011 YouthBiz competition, including a couple of teams from Estevan, were announced recently by Sunrise Community Futures, co-ordinators of the event.
A total of $2,100 in prize money was distributed to students in southeast Saskatchewan for their efforts in describing their business ideas and developing business plans.
Verna O'Neil, community economic development co-ordinator for Sunrise, said 170 students registered to compete in this year's innovative business contest YouthBiz, an E-business initiative that rolls out in two divisions, one for Grades 6 to 9 and a senior competition for students between Grades 10 and 12.
"The idea is to work on a business idea, and then using the Community Futures guide, they get to complete a business plan, come up with promotional material plus audio and visual presentations and submit it to the judges. There are bonus points for creativity and for those who involve social interaction along with the math and entrepreneurial spirit," said O'Neil who presented a couple of special achievement awards to junior competitors Tayler Olver and Baillie MacKenzie-Ellis of Westview School and the team of Carly Kreklewich and Emily Thompson (smoothie business) from Sacred Heart/Sacre Coeur School. The Westview duo captured a $50 prize for their use of technology in their Calson Bakery promotions while the Sacred Heart team won a similar amount for product development for their Get Fruity smoothie business.
Macoun School had a major winner in the Grade 6 to 9 category with Paige Kuntz receiving first place money of $500 for her Jumping Jelli Beans candy store concept while Malea Andrist, also from Macoun School, took third prize ($150) in the same age division for her bakery idea, Chip Chocolate.
Second place in this category was won by Morgan Sidloski and Tylan Charlton of Weyburn for their MT Pet Photography idea and business plan.
In the senior sector, first place and $500 went to Tyler Kerr of Weyburn for a gymnasium idea while second place was awarded to Courtney Knibbs of Stoughton for her Sweet Tooth bakery idea and third place went to Lyndon Lumb of Weyburn for the Winding Road Outdoor Living that offered supplies for outdoor enthusiasts.
O'Neil said the Sacred Heart team won by documenting their production process and providing samples to classmates and for doing consistent quality checks. The Westview duo were recognized for their adept use of technology in their marketing plan by using online applications to provide cake designs and the use of iPads to preview final products.
The Southern Flats Campground business idea developed by Bailey Kozma of Carievale won a similar amount of prize money for best business slogan, We Feed Your Camping Need.
A $50 award for financial detail and research was won by Kane Altwasser from Yellow Grass in his Prairie Boarding shop as he listed costs and supplier details for a snowboarding store.
O'Neil said this was the sixth year for the youth business competition.
"I'm always amazed at the creative ideas students develop. This year we saw the integration of social media and technology-based components in the students' business plans, a sign of how business is changing due to the influence of young entrepreneurs and market preferences. Ideas ranged from snowboarding shop and motorsports to bakers and clothing design boutiques. The work submitted by these aspiring entrepreneurs was outstanding," O'Neil said, while extending thanks to teachers for their mentorship efforts and generous support of the competition along with corporate sponsors.
"So much of this competitive program fits in with curriculum regarding mathematics and business skill training as well as social interaction," said O'Neil.
The 170 entrants came from 12 different schools in the southeast area of the province.
"The numbers will sometimes be higher or lower it depends a lot of how it can tie in to curriculum at the time. This year was a good year for numbers and we saw a lot of very creative work," O'Neil said in conclusion.