Sponsorship Save the Date 2023

Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars

Celebrating Colorado’s Top Youth Entrepreneurs

Join us on Thursday, October 12 for this annual business competition and fundraiser that supports financial literacy education and experiential entrepreneurship learning opportunities that reach nearly 70,000 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 2023 event!

View details here and contact Tobin Truslow, Vice President of Development, for more information:
303-320-3208 or ttruslow@yacenter.org.


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 will mentor the three winning youth entrepreneurs for a full year, offering insights and helping them grow their businesses. This group of kids is ready!

2023 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Business Competition Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor


Matching Gift Sponsor

Robert "Bob" Newman & Judi Newman

Marketplace Sponsor


Presenting Mentors


VIP Sponsors

Bank of Colorado
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP
Daniels Fund
Eide Bailly LLP
FMI Consulting

Gold Sponsors

Alpine Bank
AFW logo
BOK Financial
Linda and Don Childears
Janus Henderson Investors
Vectra Bank Colorado
Xcel Energy

Table Sponsors

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

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 2023 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Competition have closed, but check back in the spring for the 2024 application.

Highlights from 2022 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars


  • Randy Wells, Former Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets
  • Mark Cordova, Founder/President, Centennial Bolt
  • Leigh Sullivan, Development Director, Pepper’s Senior Dog Sanctuary

These business leaders mentored the three winning young entrepreneurs for a full year, 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
Sweet Bee Sisters Lily, Chloe, and Sophie Warren with their mentor Traci Lounsbury
Sweet Bee Sisters Lily, Chloe, and Sophie Warren with their mentor Traci Lounsbury of Workplace ELEMENTS

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!

Congratulations to the 2022 winners and finalists:

6-11 Age Category


Slime Kings
Nicholas Gray (11)


Funny Balloons
Marisa Beck

Kutie’s Create
Jocelyn Eccles

12-15 Age Category


AnnaMade Design Co.
Anna Brekken (15)


One Tidy Day
Julia Diaz

Peopl Planet
Hana Gragus

16-21 Age Category


Garrett Eisenman (16)


Gwendolyn Plue

Rescue Riders, LLC
Savannah Vermuelen

Congratulations to the 2022 Rising Business Award winner:

This year’s Rising Business Award winner is Willa Wang, owner of Willa Miette Studio.

Willa started drawing pictures of wildlife after a trip to South Africa, and received encouragement from teachers to use her art in different applications. After being disqualified from volunteering for various wildlife organizations due to her age, Willa decided to take matters into her own hands by creating her business, Willa Miette Studios, where she combines her love for art with her love for wildlife.

Willa applies her beautiful artwork to T-Shirts and tote bags. Staff judges were floored by everything Willa has accomplished in her social enterprise.

From using all sustainable materials to donating a portion of her profits to wildlife and environmental conservation organizations, Willa Miette Studios has accomplished total brand alignment in a very short time.

Willa Wang posing in front of a gray brick wall

Will Wang behind her product display at YouthBiz Marketplace

Willa Wang screen printing a garment