Do you sell something? Do you provide a service? You could win!
Each year, we invite Colorado’s top youth business owners, ages 6 to 21, to apply to the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition. These young entrepreneurs complete an online application, and then a panel of independent judges selects a winner and two finalists in each age category. Winners receive up to $5,000, and finalists receive up to $500. Winners are also paired with a leading business owner from the Colorado community.
$10,000 in prize money!
Why You Should Apply
The applications process is simple, and we’re available to help. If you can answer yes to these questions, you should apply:
- Do you know what your business does?
- Do you have a picture?
- Have you had at least one customer?
All levels of entrepreneurs from first-timers to established businesses should apply–there’s nothing to lose!
Applications for 2023 are closed.
Applications for 2024 will open in February 2024.
Congratulations to the 2023 finalists:
Watch these videos to learn helpful hints for completing the
Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition application.
Make your application stand out and plan ahead with this guide:
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I apply?
Even if you don’t win, entering the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition is a huge advantage for your business. Here’s why:
- The application process helps you outline your business goals and strategy.
- You’ll receive valuable judging feedback on your business.
- You’ll be able to network with youth and adult business leaders at the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Gala – for free!
“The whole [YouthBiz Stars] experience has far exceeded our expectations with each new opportunity that comes Jasey’s way. I wish there were more organizations like yours as so many kids would benefit from the type of education and opportunities you provide.”
–Coy Chanders, father of 2014 Winner, Jasey Chanders
How do I apply?
Young Americans uses a startup judging platform called Submit to accept, screen and evaluate applicants for the competition. You will need to create a user name and password. Pay attention to required fields. Also be prepared to download and upload forms.
What are you looking for in an entry?
Young Americans wants to know all about you and your business venture. We receive a wide variety of product-and service- based entries and we encourage you to apply no matter where you are with your business. Age, experience, growth, creativity, development, and idea viability are all taken into consideration. Be sure to tell the judges all about your business and your journey in entrepreneurship succinctly, yet thoroughly.
What information do I need to complete an application?
Here is what you need to complete your application:
- Description of your business
- 1-4 images of your product or you performing your services
- For older age categories, a brief video about you and your business
- Some of your business goals
- A description of your target customers
- Where you sell your product/service now and where you’d like to sell in the future
- Business expenses from past year
- Business sales from past year
- Competition and your competitive advantage
- Parent contact information
I have a business partner; how do we apply?
You may apply as an individual or business team. If you have a business partner, you’re more than welcome to share your log-in information with them to help with filling out the application. All applications in your age category will be judged together. Please use the age (as of June 12, 2021) of the oldest team member to determine which age category to enter.
Can someone help me with the application?
Young Americans staff is here to help! Set up a meeting by contacting Maite Wantwadi: 303-320-3213 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also ask a different adult for help or advice with the application, but try to complete most of it as a business. No one knows more about your business than you do!
If I don’t win this year, can I apply again?
Yes! Some of our winners made it to the top by applying the feedback they received from the judges in previous years’ applications. You may apply as long as you are 6-21 years old and have not won in the past. Finalists can re-apply until they win.
When is the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Event?
This year’s event will be held Thursday, October 13, 2022. Click here for event details.
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE 2023 JUDGES:
Chad Blood, Cherry Creek School District
Katie Duncan, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Bill Heaston, Rise Against Suicide
Taylor Merritt, Merritt Trailers
Krista Rutz, Johnson Financial Group
Judy Witthohn, Small Business Administration
Joe Gerlach, Field Guide IT
Michaela Lane Spiel, DEI Coach and Consultant
Nicole McCall, Field Guide IT
Ben Stein, IMA Financial
Cecilia Tarlas, Matter Family Office
Bill Airy, Lendio
Stacey Lynn Bennett, Stacey Lynn Consulting
Dan Bergman, Empower
Michelle Fox, Nourish
Kim Sluyk, Physician Relations Professional
Want to explore other opportunities for youth business owners? Click here.
2021 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Sponsors
Foundation Circle Members
Bank of America
Bank of the West
Bankers’ Bank of the West
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Carter Family Foundation
Davis, Graham & Stubbs
El Pomar Foundation
Essential Investment Partners
First Western Trust
David and Shawna Pass
Jonathan and Meghan Vickery