Spotlight on YouthBiz stars Gala

Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars 2024

Spotlight on YouthBiz stars Gala

Celebrating Colorado’s Top Youth Entrepreneurs

Join us on Thursday, October 24, 2024 for this annual business competition and fundraiser that supports financial literacy education and experiential entrepreneurship learning opportunities that reach nearly 60,000 youth every year!

This annual gala is the culmination of Colorado’s largest annual competition for young business owners (ages 6-21). A premier event, Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars recognizes the incredible achievements of young entrepreneurs operating real businesses with real customers and real profits.

Each year we scour the state for creative and motivated entrepreneurs. An independent judging panel evaluates the applications based on the execution of their business plans. The judges select one winner and two finalists in each age category who are announced at the event.

Finalists and winners receive a check to help them further their business goals. Additionally, winners receive the special opportunity to be paired with a Presenting Mentor, a distinguished entrepreneur or businessperson dedicated to furthering the success of tomorrow’s business leaders.

Contributions to Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars benefit the educational programs of Young Americans Center for Financial Education.

Sponsorships are available for the 2024 event!

View sponsorship details here and contact Tobin Truslow, Vice President of Development, for more information:
303-320-3208 or

Congratulations to the 2023 winners and finalists:

6-11 Age Category


Funny Balloons
Marisa Beck (9)


Evelyn Preisinger

Zing Soaps
Jackson Renberg

12-15 Age Category


Sophia Madeline Studio
Sophia Drake (14)


Sophie-Rose Lip Balm
Sophia Kohls

Willa Miette Studio
Willa Wang

16-21 Age Category


Kind Mind Club
Caroline Sullivan (17)


Elliott’s Sprinkler Repair
Grant Elliott

Ranjani Koushik

Congratulations to the 2023 Rising Business Award winner:

This year’s Rising Business Award winner is Jackson White (10), owner of Virtual Book Buddy.

During Covid, Jackson spent a lot of time online reading with his grandmother. She would read a page, then he would read a page. It made reading go quicker and kept him more interested in the plot.

If you look at Jackson’s bookcase on his website, you can find a book that you both have, and you can select a time when he is available so you both can read. Then, at that time, you both can read for 30 minutes.

Jackson has lots of different types of books, like mysteries, classics, and his personal favorites. Jackson is a 2023-2024 fifth grader and can tell you what he liked when he started reading and what he likes reading today.

Rich and Marisa

Funny Ballons – Marisa Beck

Sophia and Veena

Sophia Madeline Studio – Sophia Drake


Mike and Caroline

Kind Mind Club – Caroline Sullivan

Business Applications – Apply and WIN!

Are you looking to take your business to the next level?  YouthBiz Star winners can earn up to $5,000!  Applications for the 2024 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Competition are now open.

Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars


Rich Linton, Empower

Richard Linton, Jr.

President & COO


Veena Dandapani headshot

Veena Dandapani

Chief Client Services Officer

Pagaya Technologies

katz web

Mike Katz

Market President

KeyBank in Colorado

These business leaders are currently mentoring the three winning youth entrepreneurs, offering insights and helping them grow their businesses. This group of kids is ready!

Distinguished YouthBiz Stars Mentors

Young Americans is honored to have the support of many esteemed leaders of the business community who recognize and encourage the next generation of business owners in Colorado through this event.  Past Mentors include:

  • Michael Barkin, Vail Resorts
  • Matthew Burkett, The Flyfisher Group
  • Linda Enstrom, Enstrom’s Candy
  • John Hickenlooper, Governor
  • Traci Lounsbury, Workplace ELEMENTS
  • John Malone, Liberty Media
  • Curt Richardson, OtterBox
  • Maureen Tarrant Fitzgerald, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s
  • Kent Thiry, DaVita
  • Rich Linton, Empower

Interested in doing your part to give back and grow Colorado’s business talent?  Learn more about becoming a Presenting Mentor here.  Thank you for your interest in inspiring the next generation!