Winners - Smarty Pens

Research shows that a large percentage of people of all ages, incomes, and education levels lack the basic financial knowledge and skills they need to ensure long-term stability for themselves and their families. The Young Americans Center for Financial Education provides the most comprehensive resources for any young person who wants to think, act, or be like an entrepreneur. This early training in business gives them the hands-on experience, confidence, and skills they need to succeed in today’s world.

Young Americans started entrepreneurship programming, which is now known as YouthBiz, to serve as a hub for entrepreneurial thinking and action, and provide the skills that people of every age need to navigate the real world.

  • Since 1997, over 21,000 youth have participated, and YouthBiz has been lauded as an innovative and scalable solution to our nation’s job crisis.
  • Using hands-on activities, innovative strategies, and proven curriculum, students learn about the ins and outs of starting and growing a business.
  • Through YouthBiz, we offer youth programs, both in and after school—and in partnership with a broad range of community partners—that challenge youth to build entrepreneurial skills and habits. These programs include:
    • YouthBiz Marketplace
      Business owners ages 6-21 exhibit their entrepreneurial skills twice a year in April and December. Youth learn lessons in marketing and customer service first-hand as hundreds of guests enjoy shopping the marketplace for creative and unique gifts.
    • Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition
      Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars, formerly known as Celebration for Young Entrepreneurs, is Colorado’s largest business competition for young entrepreneurs ages 6-21. The Celebration awards cash prizes and mentorship to winners who are honored at an evening gala.
    • Summer camps and educational workshops
      Week-long entrepreneurial summer camps and monthly classes inspire and encourage current and future business owners to take charge. During summer camps, participants can choose to sell existing products or build upon a new idea.
    • Downing Street Programs
      Aspiring Entrepreneurs
      : Youth discover and develop their life-long entrepreneurial potential by concentrating on the building blocks of success – personal leadership, professional skills development, financial management and entrepreneurial thinking.
      Emerging Entrepreneurs: Participants work in teams to identify an entrepreneurial opportunity, prepare a business for launch, then run a profitable enterprise.

With Young Americans’ YouthBiz programs, youth everywhere will have the resources they need to maximize their entrepreneurial potential and succeed in today’s competitive workforce.  For more information, please contact YouthBiz Coordinator Maite Wantwadi at

YouthBiz Supporters

$20,000 and Above Level

Amica Companies Foundation
City and County of Denver

$10,000-$19,999 Level


Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province
Mile High United Way

$5,000-$9,999 Level

Capital One

The Denver Post Community Foundation

The Rollie R. Kelley Family Foundation

$1,000-$4,999 Level

Alpine Bank



Jackson National Life Insurance Company

Kinder Morgan Foundation

Robert Rhue Enterprises Inc.

Sclessman Family Foundation

SM Energy

Linda Wackwitz

David Whitcomb